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Cambodian Coffee Guide: History, Flavors, & Facts

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Cambodian Coffee Guide History, Flavors, & Facts

Even among Asian nations, Cambodia isn’t exactly the first nation that comes to mind when considering the biggest producers of coffee in the world. You’re more inclined to consider Vietnam, China, or India. Cambodia does have a distinctive manner of serving their coffee, especially iced coffee, even if their annual exports of coffee only make up 0.1% of all coffee exported globally.

Do they grow coffee in Cambodia?

Yes, coffee is grown in Cambodia. They only cultivate Robusta beans. Given that Arabica coffee beans are typically more sought-after due to their lighter notes and smoother flavour profile, it makes sense that they only export 0.1 percent of their total coffee production to other countries.

Most of the coffee in Cambodia is grown between 2,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level. Robusta beans grow well in these conditions. Across the nation, the average elevation is about 415 feet. The Cardamom Mountains, Phnom Kong Rei Mountain range, and Elephant Mountains are the only regions in the entire nation that have conditions that are fairly favourable for growing coffee. Coffee production has decreased by over 70% during the past 15 years. Even Robusta beans cannot grow in the ideal conditions. The majority of the nation’s coffee consumption is imported, primarily from Vietnam.

Who Set Up Coffee Plants in Cambodia?

Around the same time as the French brought coffee to other Indochina nations, it was introduced to Cambodia. Two hundred years earlier, there had already been a commerce connection.

What Does Coffee From Cambodia Taste Like?

Cambodian coffee is typically regarded as being of fairly low quality and has a taste that is noticeably harsh. It is typically darkly roasted. Because the bean has a naturally bitter flavour, it is sometimes roasted with margarine or butter to give it a deeper and sweeter flavour. To hide any unsavoury bean flavours, it is typically roasted quite darkly.

Many roasters have at least a little paranoia that their top-secret roasting techniques may be stolen. This reflects the general lack of transparency in the Cambodian coffee market. In Cambodia, you might visit a “roastery,” but you won’t actually see a full coffee bean there. This is because to the tight competition among many roasters in this cutthroat market, where corners are frequently taken. They will utilise cheaper alternatives like ground blackened maize combined with chicory and ground soybeans, or, at the very least, they will dilute imported Vietnamese coffee with one of the cheaper options. This is the type of coffee you would most usually find in Cambodian streets. Find a business that grinds its beans fresh if you want to make sure that your coffee isn’t cut with any crap!

Recipe for Cambodian Iced Coffee

The Cambodian Iced Coffee comes in a variety of forms. While some use espresso, others use coffee that has been brewed and filtered. Here is an accepted method.

A Vietnamese coffee filter, which is comparable to a French press, or a paper filter are used while making brewed coffee. In order to obtain the richest flavour possible when using a pour-over filter brew, the coffee is often poured over the same grounds two to three additional times after the initial extraction. The coffee naturally has a very robust flavour because it is a Robusta species. The sweetened condensed milk is topped with this aggressively brewed coffee. Condensed milk without sugar is then frothed and dispensed. Once ice is added, it is prepared for serving. A better flavour is achieved by using espresso. Pouring coffee over used grounds results in stronger coffee, but also greater bitterness and unfavourable flavours.

This is a true method for preparing iced coffee in Cambodia. Because it is expensive and difficult to find high-quality dairy in many parts of Southeast Asia, condensed milk from cans is utilised.

Final Reflections

The wonderful and rich iced coffee that Cambodia produces is arguably the country’s greatest contribution to the coffee industry. However, despite the fact that demand for single-origin coffee from Cambodia has increased recently, the supply has not been able to keep up. Finding a single-origin Arabica that you can use to make a dark roast with vegetable fat is preferable if you want to make Cambodian-style iced coffee.

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