The specialty coffee scene in Dubai and in the rest part of the UAE has expanded dramatically over the few years. So much so that it’s hard to keep track of what has opened where, and who is serving what. there are over a few hundred places where you can drink specialty coffee in the UAE. This ranges from Specialty Coffee Roasters and attached Brew bars, through to cafe’s and pop-ups who don’t roast their own coffee but make a point of only serving high-quality specialty coffee.
However, what is remarkable is the growing demand and awareness for specialty coffee in the United Arab Emirates. Coffee is appreciated as more of an experience within a beverage rather than just a daily caffeine consumption.
In the specialty coffee movement, the emphasis is on transparency so that a customer can trace their favorite coffee’s origin right from the farm it was harvested like Bean variety, altitude grown, method of processing, roast dates, and roast styles have become important factors in producing a handcrafted cup that not only exhibits but also preserves the subtle natural flavors and characteristics of single-origin, fresh coffee beans.
More importantly, true specialty coffee encompasses only the top 18 percent of the world’s total arabica variety of coffee production. With ‘Dark Roasts’ considered to be ‘safe’, Arabica beans are well known for its most flavorful and better quality, producing many different specialty flavor profiles depending on the location of where the beans were grown, harvested, processed and roasted. Arabica beans are cultivated at higher altitudes and are particularly susceptible to frost and it can tolerate low temperatures and it does best with an average temperature between 15 and 24°C.
What makes specialty coffee completely different, is the use of single-origin beans that are ‘profile’ roasted, used within an ‘optimum freshness’ period. Highlighting the uniqueness of single-origin beans, to explore possibilities and potentials in coffee at every step of the process from bean to cup.
The demand for specialty coffee is rapidly increasing within the UAE with more and more people buying coffee based on a more informed choice and progressively more cultivated palate, thanks to the awareness spread by roasters, specialty baristas and the owners of homegrown cafes.
Interestingly, the UAE has experienced robust demand for higher quality coffees in the last few years with retail and wholesale demand consuming supplies faster than before. In addition, specialty coffee shops allow consumers to get a more gratifying experience though tailor-made coffee for every mood.
Another point to consider is the expertise and precision of the coffee preparation and attention to detail in the delivery on to the customer – an important detail that reflects the final stretch of the coffee’s journey from seed to cup.
The specialty coffee shops investing in exceptional coffee would typically also invest in the highest standards of water filtration and industry-leading specialty-brewing equipment. Utilizing the latest machinery and its accompanying technologies aid in the production of excellent coffee. Some owners even opt to have their machines customized to give a signature feel and taste to the coffee they serve.
Currently, specialty coffee comprises only one percent of the UAE’s total market with enormous room for growth for more specialized coffee shops outside of the typical franchise model. A study indicates that by 2022, the emerging coffee markets, many of which are in the GCC, will reach 50 percent of the global consumption. Likewise, the UAE needs its own specialty coffee houses to be a pioneer for all coffee enthusiasts in the middle east region.
So the next time if you decide to visit a new cafe in the UAE, start up a conversation with the barista about their current coffees brewing. If you’re presented with at least two fully informed options (origin, farm, process and flavor profile) for your best espresso, cappuccino, long black, flat white, or latte; you’ve likely stepped into one of only a handful of specialty cafes in the country, and chances are you’re in for a truly exceptional “Specialty Coffee Experience”.
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