Motor-Mocha Coffee - A Young Couple’s Investment in Cambodia’s Coffee-Drinking Culture

After working full-time jobs, two graduates decided to set up their own venture by taking advantage of the growing coffee-drinking culture in Phnom Penh, staring with a small capital of $600
Motor Mocha Coffee, a small mobile kiosk, in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/supplied
Motor Mocha Coffee, a small mobile kiosk, in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/supplied

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Tourism management degree holders, Choum Sareach and his wife Chay Sokthavory from Kampong Speu province, are proud owners of Motor Mocha Coffee, a small mobile kiosk, in Phnom Penh.

“I was inspired to open Motor Coffee about two years ago when I saw a video on YouTube about Nomad Handicraft Coffee. I was so impressed by their concept that I knew I wanted to do something similar.

“However, I didn't have the time to start my own business because I was working full time and was preoccupied by other things,” said the 30-year-old, who graduated together with his 28-year-old wife from Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2018.

He felt that Cambodia, with its vibrance and diversity, traditional culture has blended harmoniously with modern influences.

“Coffee has become an increasingly popular beverage among locals and tourists alike. Coffee shops are thriving in bustling cities like Phnom Penh, offering a variety of flavors and blends to cater to different tastes. Among these offerings, Motor-Mocha Coffee also offers a different taste and exciting choice for customers,” he told Kiripost.

Choum Sareach and his wife Chay Sokthavory
Choum Sareach and his wife Chay Sokthavory

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Starting up

In May 2023, Sareach began to consider changing his job to one that would give him more time with family. Around that time, he also discussed with his wife the possibility of selling coffee on the weekends, eventually deciding to sell coffee on a motorbike, like what they had seen on YouTube.

Before that, he had to consider a few things, such as price affordability in order to cater to everyone from the low to medium income level.

Noting that his is a low-cost business, he has invested $600 so far, with plans to upgrade his seating area to make it more comfortable for waiting customers.

“Certainly this is the cost we prefer as most spend below $600 to start this business. In addition, this is a start-up therefore, it is convenient for me to rotate the location as well as the business hour based on my available time.

“I think there are only a few of this type of coffee stalls in Cambodia. Luckily we didn’t spend money on learning how to make the coffee, as my wife's family has been selling coffee for around 15 years. So, she knows a lot about it. As for me, I have worked in a restaurant for eight years, therefore I also have some knowledge about coffee,” he added.

Another level

In the current fast paced world, many rely on a cup of coffee to kick start their morning or power through afternoons.

Coffee has become an integral part of people’s daily routine, providing us with the energy and focus needed to tackle the daily challenges.

If you're a coffee enthusiast looking for a caffeine experience on another level, Motor-Mocha Coffee might be just what you need.

Motor-Mocha coffee is a simple and affordable daily coffee option for people on a budget. The price and taste are both satisfactory.

“The difference is in the way we design the motor to sell coffee. We want customers to enjoy a new experience, even if they are paying the same price as other coffee street stores,” Sareach said.

Motor-Mocha coffee is a mix of Khmer-Vietnamese coffee, with the popular one being coffee with milk.

Motor-Mocha Coffee
Motor-Mocha Coffee

Future plans

Sareach said, there are many coffee shops in Phnom Penh city. “However, we believe in our price and taste, and are confident that we are able to overcome any challenges.”

In the future, he hopes that Motor-Mocha Coffee would become a recognised and respected budget coffee brand in Cambodia.

He plans to expand operations to become a one-stop shop for coffee products, offering a wider variety of coffee drinks and food options, as well as other products related to coffee, such as coffee beans and brewing equipment. “We can also provide job opportunities and skills training to Cambodians.”

Sareach’s advice

“I am not a successful person yet, but I am a dreamer and a doer. I am committed to my dream of starting a business, and I am not afraid to take risks. I believe that anyone can achieve their dreams if they are willing to work hard and never give up,” he said.

For those looking to start a coffee business, Sareach advised that they indulge in careful planning and must have dedication and a strong understanding of the coffee industry to navigate the competitive coffee market in Cambodia.

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