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We are a collaborative project space expanding our efforts into a community cafe in Battambang, Cambodia.
Created by
116 backers pledged $10,186 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


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Kinyei by the numbers

Posted by Kinyei (Creator)

It's fun to see what our numbers can tell about our story, have a look:

Project: Cafe

2 - trainings given by Kinyei baristas to outside baristas
4 - cafe staff moved into other Kinyei projects
20 - volunteers engaged for help or training
18 - events hosted
18 - staff received training
30 - % revenue spent on staff
94 - % recommended on TripAdvisor (rating excellent or very good)
7 -  staff trained in financial, communications, technology office processes
15 - open workshops held
150 - open workshop participants
148 - facebook likes
4,100 - coffees served

Project: Soksabike

2 - industry partnerships
6 - number of volunteers engaged
16 - number of staff trained
90 - facebook likes
419 - customers taken to the countryside
100 - % excellent or very good TripAdvisor rating

Project: Sammaki

6 - Local artist exhibitions

8 - workshops held on various creative processes(block printing, photography, composting, portraiture, image transfer)
10 - events held in the space(film festival, art walk venue, graphic novel presentation, noise art performance)
35 - volunteers engaged
800 - visitors to the space
$2,000 - commission of artwork sold to run Sammaki
$6,000 - value of artwork sold

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Hot Season Update from St. 1.5

Posted by Kinyei (Creator)
Backers! Hello. 
It’s time we thanked you again. Maybe you check the Kinyei facebook account, maybe you check the Kinyei blog, or our Twitter feed, and it’s possible you’ve thought “why so quiet in Battambang?” Things might seem quiet online, but that doesn’t mean we’re not bustling on the ground (on the contrary!).

So let’s get down to it. What’s happening in the cafe these days?

We’ve celebrated a year of operation! And a year of employment for five of our original baristas, and some of them have transitioned their cafe staff roles into Soksabike. This month, two other baristas will ring in their one year anniversary working with us, and will be moving into cafe operations, and management training positions. And that makes a lively team of eleven in the cafe alone!

We’ve hired our fourth round of barista trainees, who we have trained up using our very own barista manual, fastidiously designed by visiting barista expert, James. We also used that barista manual and accompanying training by first round Kinyei baristas Untac and Sean to train up outside baristas-to-be from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Just one more step towards getting Battambang on the coffee drinker's map. The scorching temps are not discouraging people from coming out for a latte. Or maybe it’s the iced banana espresso smoothies? Whatever it is, we’re a happy full house!

The cafe has never looked or felt better, with lots of staff and volunteer initiated planting and art projects around. We’re trying for aloe and mint these days, all grown on our porch! With tips from our green thumbed neighbors hopefully we’ll be on the right track.

What’s coming up? We’ve got a Kinyei signature roast in the pipeline, but we’re taking it slow, after all we have a coffee reputation to uphold. More details on that and an annual report of sorts that we’ve been dying to get you, our faithful backers, soon.

How about that bike tour?

The impressive heat wave that is the hot season in Cambodia has not seemed to deter Soksabike customers, one bit. We’ve had a rocking month, with our first big group tour - 23 students from the US, an impressive bunch wanting to know about local small businesses and picking some Khmer from the guides to boot.

The team, now ten strong, has happily relocated, and our new office proudly dons our homemade sign! This month we welcome Nary, our weekend bookings assistant, and Ra, our mechanic. We’re all energized by our growing partnership with Grasshopper Tours, who run fantastic adventure tours throughout Southeast Asia. 

And we’ve been lucky enough to host cycling enthusiasts from the UK and the US with lots to share, not least their passion for bikes! Andy, a former Soksabike mentor, is currently traveling Asia by tandem with his partner, have a gander. 

Check out Soksabike’s new website, thanks in big part to Alex, Pat and Carly who spent countless hours developing a brilliant new look for us.

And that art space?

Sammaki is just about to celebrate its one year, and can be proud of its feature in the New York Times, as well as its second artist in residence and weekly community art events. We’re stoked to have helped make this place possible, and what’s more rewarding than to take part in all the art fun happening around town?

Introducing Yoga 2.5!

Finally, Mel’s enthusiasm for the old colonial space on St. 2.5 is paying off! This month Kinyei and resident yoga instructor, Claudia, are launching regular yoga classes, and spin off events to follow.

We’re constantly reminded of the generosity of our supporters, all of you who backed this wild idea! So far we’re thrilled about the past and energized thinking of the future. We’re back online, and ready to share insights, facts and figures - so stay tuned! 
Check us out at:
We're always happy for volunteers (resident experts!) to come stay for a while. We'd love to host coffee connoisseurs as well as cycling geeks!
Fill out our Volunteer Form or share it with someone who fits the bill.
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We’re turning 9 months...!

Posted by Kinyei (Creator)

We're so busy with the cafe and affiliated projects, we almost forgot to send you an update on the latest big news. Since you're all the original backer group, we're dedicated to keeping you in the know - and hopefully you can see just what you've helped to start! Read on for the highlights of the last few months at the cafe:

Our new look

Cafe and office staff took the opportunity to give the place a face-lift while Justin, Mel and Katie were retreating in Indonesia. The place has never looked so alive, overflowing with ingenuity, and a smart new menu set on a cafe designed blackboard. Have a look at the Kinyei website for more images.

Dream team

We’ve increased our staff by 50%! After five months of training up what is now our highly qualified barista staff (really! based on feedback from customers), we had an intense hiring round in April. We recruited some of the best and brightest to learn from our best and brightest. We now have seven dedicated cafe staff, including our newly appointed cafe supervisor - Sean. 
We’ve also hired on two part-time Kinyei office staff members who focus their efforts on administrative, accounting and project specific work. We’ve loved having a full and lively office! It won’t be long before we’re going to have to relocate to accommodate the growing project staff.

Temporary experts-in-residence: barista & food scientist

Recently the entire barista team - Sakana, Untak, Sopheap, Sakhey, Sotheareak and Sean - had the awesome opportunity to learn alongside Kinyei volunteers extraordinaire and Mel’s dear friends, Mikey and Ariana. June and July saw coffee making focus groups, hospitality trainings and team building workshops led by the Melbournite team of two, intimately familiar with coffee shop culture. Thanks to their expertise, the Kinyei cafe team enhanced their confidence in communication skills, milk steaming techniques, and smart operational practices. A huge thanks to Mikey and Ariana for their tremendous job in the cafe - and of course for the crafting ideas.

We were also fortunate enough to connect with a recently matriculated food scientist. Erin Hiller, sister of Shannon, friend and fellow Battambangian, came through to fine tune menu items as well as do some cost optimization research on locally available ingredients. Sakana, our resident baker, and Justin spent some quality one-on-one time with Erin. The results? Quality control for our snacks and baked items, and a better informed staff, plus some really fun food experiments to be done - including homemade caramel. Erin commented,

“The staff at Kinyei are extremely kind and welcoming, I think the jokes even started after the first few days that I was there. Hopefully I can make it back one day as it has become one of the top places I would like to revisit and explore more.”

Menu expansion

Macaroons and an old family fruit cake recipe are now available! Check back soon and we may even feature some of the food experiments we’ve been having fun with - eggs benedict and poached pear french toast. Not bad additions to your morning latte!

Other projects

Soksabike is gearing up for a blow out tourist season. We're entering a new chapter in the development of a new 2 day community development education cycling tour and just yesterday hosted 20 applicants for an information session on what it means to be a tour guide with Soksabike. A recruitment drive, the creation of a multi-day tour, and potential partnerships with local, national and international businesses means that the Soksabike project has been anything but quiet this rainy season. Kinyei also recently hosted the Pepy Tour folks for an information sharing session about our projects. We’re also excited about a social impact survey we recently undertook to gauge our footprint on the local families and industries we visit.

A huge thanks to Jan, a Soksabike supporter from Germany who stopped in Battamabang for 2 weeks on his cycling journey through South East Asia to help research routes and stops for Soksabike’s new tour.

Check out more at

Sammaki news 

Sammaki opened its doors to the public with a bang in late May. Over 200 showed up, a good mix from all over - Battambang, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sisiphon. Since its launch in May, the community gallery and studio space has been bustling with people piling in for workshops, Sunday tea parties, lectures, and educational crafting with local youth groups, in addition to the daily foot traffic from tourists passing by. None of this would have materialized without the endless energy of the founding members, and local artists who have come together to make possible the vision for a community space to appreciate and celebrate art.

The latest news is the exceptional solo exhibit by newly minted resident artist, Bo Rithy. His show, Mother’s Sweat was a tribute to his tireless mother who braved the daily plights of poverty in Cambodia to raise her family. Have a look at the show.

We're thrilled with the success of Sammaki since the concept of community-run /community-engaging spaces aligns with the core of Kinyei’s vision. We’re especially excited that it’s getting so much traction in the national press. Pretty rad, guys!

If you’ve dropped by the cafe why not drop us a line on Trip Advisor

We’re currently #5 out of 25 restaurants in Battambang

Barista championships and the future

Kinyei staff are honing their latte art skills for Cambodia’s barista championship coming up in October. We’ve also been encouraged by the requests we’ve gotten for our staff to train new baristas in cafes in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

How can you stay involved?

Have a quick take of our abbreviated Kinyei material needs list below. We’re working to get a comprehensive list up on the site to accommodate the many inquiries we get on how to pitch in or get involved with Kinyei

Our tech list includes

+digital cameras (used or new) - with all the photography workshops we’ve been hosting at the open workshop series, our team and the greater Battambang population is increasingly hungry for cameras to help realize their professional + creative ambitions
+computers (used or new) - with our expanded team, our computers are stretched across one too many laps these days, we’re looking for a few extra to have on hand, also for affiliate groups we work with who come by hoping to hop on a machine
+quality USB keys - these can be excrutiatingly hard to find in Battambang

Interested in being an expert-in-residence?

We’d love to host short or long terms visitors with skills or knowledge they want to impart to our teams and/or projects. Contact us and let us know. Thanks again, backers!

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Two Months On...

Posted by Kinyei (Creator)

Greetings Kinyei Cafe Backers!

We’re nearly two months on from the end of our Kickstarter and wanted to share some of what we've been up to and what your support has enabled. The hot season is nearly upon us here in Battambang, but things have been ramping up we've got momentum going to sustain energy levels even through the most brutal of 40 degree weather!

Coffee + the Cafe

  • We've introduced some western snacks to the menu. Khmer snacks such as sugared sweet potato fries were trialled but we couldn't compete with the reigning kings of these snacks around the market on price or secret Khmer snack-fu techniques.
  • One of our backers requested the number of black coffees without ice sold. It is 57.
  • Total khmer vs espresso coffees served: 84 : 436
  • Nationalities served: 23
  • Small lattes (“latte dtoich”) are the new rage
Here small latte appears larger than it actually is
  • Our staff regularly get told they make the best coffee in Cambodia. We’re pleased as punch about this.
  • With a fridge breakdown, a burst pipe, and sudden wedding-related staff absences almost every week this month, we’re learning to deal with mini crises.
  • Two team members, Phalla and Untac, participated in the first ever TEDx conference in Cambodia in February and are completely pumped to organize Battambang’s own in the coming months
  • Competition is heating up as the staff battle it out on the espresso machine for best cappuccino. This week, best yogurt!
 Untac's winning yogurt creation

Other projects developing in the space

  • An exciting collaboration between local artists, Siem Reap’s ArtDeli and Kinyei is kicking off. “Sammaki” is going to be Battambang's first collaborative art space, a gallery which exhibits local work without restriction, and hosts artists' workshops and events. It will be run as a cooperative effort between 2 artists in residence, Kinyei and Jam's Art Deli. We’ve already hosted planning workshops and it's all hands on deck these next few weekends, as we’ll be prepping the space art(/rennovation) attack style. Check out how far we’ve come.
  • The Open Classroom has seen lots of traffic in the last month with workshops run on women’s reproductive health, working with Cambodian culture, and cross-cultural creative expression
  • Seavyi Yonn, a Kinyei intern has started a skills club in the Open Workshop space, now 10 sessions in, that allows high school students to get together and share extra curricular skills such as email use, something they desperately want but cannot get without paying for pricey short courses.

Seavyi's internet workshop

It’s really exciting to see the communities spring up around this place, even within a few short months. I think we’ve got a really great year ahead of us and we’d like to invite you all to come visit some time!



"What do you want to create?"

Posted by Kinyei (Creator)

Backers, cheerleaders and enthusiasts! Thank you for your unceasing support! Thanks to all of you we made it past our goal of $8500 with a week to go.

To recognise this momentous feat and show our gratitude, the Street One and a Half Cafe staff spent some time hitting the streets, asking Battambangians what they wanted to create in their lives. Our team of amateur journalists just got it in with 48 hours left on the Kickstarter!

Please watch this video and get a glimpse of what people here in Battambang hope to create.

Pass it along and help us smash 10k!


Film crew - Sakana, Srey Pheak, Untac, Phalla, Sean, Enrico
Music - Sigur Ros (and we really hope they don't mind!)

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