Intern Reviews All of Cafe Sinouk’s Bestselling Coffees

AND SURVIVED FOR 24 HOURS ON PURE CAFFEINE

As someone who couldn’t tell lattes from cappuccinos, I could not allow myself to remain ignorant whilst interning at a coffee company.

After gathering an insider-only list of bestselling coffees from my trustworthy Lao colleagues, I set out on a journey to conquer all of Café Sinouk’s hotshot coffees. In my own unprofessional and untrained opinion, here is my review of six different coffee drinks of Sinouk Coffee within Vientiane.

Café Sinouk Khemkong – Hot Lao-style coffee
For those who aren’t familiar, Lao-style coffee starts with a bottom layer of condensed milk, followed by espresso and hot water, and finally a layer of foamed milk at the top. With our Khemkong outlet being in the heart of Vientiane’s tourist district, it wasn’t surprising that this was one of its bestsellers.

Lao-style coffee is perfect for those who have an aversion for the bitterness of regular coffee and is an easy starting point for new coffee drinkers. For caffeine-chasers, don’t be too quick to stray away from this powerful drink. Lao-style coffee has a higher caffeine count than pure Arabica.

The iced version is in fact the more typical way of taking Lao-style coffee. On the streets, vendors sell it in little plastic bags, the classic Southeast Asian style!

Sweetness – 5 out of 5
Energy – 3 out of 5
Price level – Medium

Café Sinouk Sokpaluang – Iced Cappuccino
Ah, the iced cappuccino, also known as the latte imposter. To be frank, there really isn’t much difference between the two.

The iced cappuccino at the Sokpaluang outlet had a soft, blanket-like texture from the foamed milk and a natural sweetness that would be better-appreciated by some as compared to the heavy condensed milk in Lao-style coffee. Without an overwhelming artificial sweetness, the bold coffee taste from the espresso shot still had some presence even with the added milk.

Overall, a classic coffee that should never go wrong.

Sweetness – 3 out of 5
Energy – 3 out of 5
Price level - High

Café Sinouk Phonsinuane – Hot Americano
An accurate reflection of its main demographic of office workers, our Phonsinuane shop churns out hot americanos by the hundreds each month.

With a child’s palate when it comes to coffee, anything without milk and sugar tastes like burnt water to me. I won’t lie and say that this americano is revolutionary or game-changing, but it was surely more than just water and coffee in my cup.

The hot americano, undiluted by melting ice, gives way to a faint fruitiness of the Arabica beans from which it was made. An overall strong and some might say unforgiving taste, the americano does its job in giving you your morning fuel the no-frills way. All in all, the hot americano is a straightforward choice for straightforward people.

Sweetness – 0 out of 5
Energy – 4 out of 5
Price level – Medium

Café Sinouk Institut Francais – Espresso
A 100% open-aired space, it’s no exaggeration when I say I could hear French music playing faintly in the distance. Despite its Italian origin, the espresso was the shop’s bestselling coffee. As an undoubted coffee greenhorn, the espresso was one mountain I never thought I’d conquer, second to the americano.

But of course, this is the age of competitive self-improvement so I couldn’t allow myself to skip this one over. After a quick internal pep talk, I downed half the shot (I’m weak against caffeine and it was my third coffee that afternoon).

As expected, it was a strong, bitter mouthful that warmed my throat as it went down. The first breath I inhaled after swallowing gave way to a slight acidity, like licking a lemon slice, and afterwards, an extremely faint natural sweetness. Though I personally wouldn’t pay money for any kind of espresso, I can see why people on-the-go love picking up their morning espresso and calling it a day. Its quick, its easy and it does the job.

Sweetness – 0 out of 5
Energy – 5 out of 5
Price level – Low

Café Sinouk Talat Sao 1 & 2 – Iced Mocha
The iced mocha was an approachable drink that I was looking forward to trying. After all, who doesn’t love something chocolatey? As the two cafés were closely located, I decided to just try the one from Talat Sao 2, which was an open-concept type of café in the middle of the mall’s atrium.

One thing I recommend is to give the coffee a good stir to make sure the chocolatey goodness is well-mixed so one sip isn’t too sweet or not sweet enough (four cups of coffee later and I think I sound like an expert!).

The iced mocha is the least coffee-tasting coffee of everything that I’ve sampled, and this could be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the coffee taste, but I do appreciate and often need the energy boost. On days when I’m not particularly keen on a strong-bodied coffee, I go for an ice mocha.

Overall, it’s an easy coffee to start with and highly recommended for new coffee drinkers, alongside the hot Lao-style coffee.

Sweetness – 4 out of 5
Energy – 3 out of 5
Price level – Low

Sinouk Coffee Pavilion – Iced Latte
Last but not least is the iced latte from Sinouk Coffee Pavilion (at which I am a proud pantry rat). This coffee is one of my most frequently consumed beverages at the office because of how easy it is to make.

Of course, my review will cover real iced latte made by the café’s barista. The iced latte wasn’t as sweet as I expected and had a noticeably smoother mouth-feel than the cappuccino due to having less foamed milk. With a stronger coffee taste compared to the cappuccino and mocha, I would recommend it as a “next-step” coffee for those trying to acquire a taste for it.

Sweetness – 2.5 out of 5
Energy – 3 out of 5
Price level – Low

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