By Kunal Lahori
Dubai is known for many things. It’s global tourist destination is known for its world-class culinary landscape, one-of-a-kind architecture, and unique nightlife. Many would be surprised that Dubai also plays host to a truly vibrant coffee scene.
It may seem rather counterintuitive. After all, Dubai’s average temperature hovers at around 25 °C (77 °F) in the daytime during its coldest months. The heat and humidity continue to persist extravagantly in the summer months.
But studies have shown that a hot drink on a hot day can indeed cool you down. This makes Dubai’s specialty coffee scene thrive and grow with every pour. The emerging coffee specialty market in Dubai is gaining popularity and ambitious roasters continue to push the envelope.
No matter which part of the city you’re in, a good cup of coffee is a mere sip away. Here are five things to know about the rise of Dubai’s vibrant coffee scene.
1. The usual hotspots
Coffee enthusiasts visiting Dubai won’t have to look far to find a decent cup of coffee. There are many homegrown companies featuring a beautiful brew of vibrant atmosphere and some seriously delicious homemade pastries. Coffee beans are organic, locally sourced, and wonderfully paired with the casual, laid-back atmosphere found in many of these trendy hotspots.
The coffee scene in Dubai is a departure from the luxury, high-end glamorous dining traditionally found in Dubai’s culinary scene. Each cafe that has made a name for itself within the emerging coffee scene, from Café Bateel to Tom and Serg, are trendy, casual, and affordable.
Whether it’s the perfectly poured cappuccino you’re after, or made-to-order latte art, these flagship cafes have paved the way for Dubai’s cafe culture.
2. The specialty roasters
The success of these non-homogenous cafes indicated a shift in Dubai’s coffee market. This shift bore fruit in the form of specialty roasters. Filling the gap in the market between the traditional coffee chains and trendy cafes, the freshly roasted specialty coffee makers focus on specific beans. Particularly rare single origins and ethically sourced beans.
RAW is one of Dubai’s most specialized coffee houses. All their beans are organically certified and roasted by origin. Mokha 1450 is another rarity. As one of the first coffee boutiques in the city, Mokha 1450 deals with direct trades for their specialty beans. Their main focus is on rare single origins and creating sustainable communities.
This gap in the market is growing quickly, with many consumers showing interest in learning about coffee origin and brewing.
3. The quirky cafes
Dubai isn’t known as a once-in-a-lifetime tourist destination because it plays it safe. Visitors to the city know that Dubai is host to many unique experiences, and its vibrant coffee culture is no exception.
The Magazine Shop is a contemporary cafe that doubles as a home to the creative underground culture. Their involvement in the local art and design scene makes it a must-visit for any creative coffee lover. For those with a preference of feline therapy with their morning brew should head to Ailuromania Cafe.
Prefer theme-inspired coffee houses? Dubai has got your covered. Classic Rock Coffee and Café Rider both cater to guests looking for alternative coffee shops.
4. The coffee competitions
Coffee enthusiasts aren’t only spoilt for choice when it comes to Dubai’s coffee scene. Beyond establishments making a home for themselves in Dubai, coffee enthusiasts can revel in the numerous coffee competitions held throughout Dubai.
Dubai is home to the UAE AeroPress competition, with many world-class competitors vying for coffee glory. The city also hosts the UAE Latte Art Championships, hosted annually by the International Coffee and Tea Festival. The chosen latte art winner gets the opportunity to represent the country for the global title at the World of Coffee convention held annually.
5. Dubai Coffee Museum
Located in Dubai’s heritage district, Al Fahidi, Dubai Coffee Museum is an aromatic bean-based journey back in time. As the country’s first dedicated coffee museum, the Coffee Museum showcases a wide roster of antique coffee implements, from old grinders and roasters, each emphasizing coffee education to the interested customers.
The museum illustrates regional and global coffee culture and history. Its relaxing atmosphere permits visitors a platform to experience different regional coffee beans and styles. The museum also provides samples of freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee.
For coffee enthusiasts who are interested in what goes into a good cup of joe, this is an experience not to miss.
6. Coffee on the go
Dubai’s vibrant coffee scene isn’t relegated only to its artisan coffee houses and specialty roasters. For coffee connoisseurs, Dubai is also home to a whole host of mobile coffee solutions.
Borrowing from European and North American traditions, Dubai’s streets are bustling with rolling coffee-making machines. Coffee bikes, specialty food trucks, and mobile pop-ups are populating the streets throughout the city.
With the freedom to choose their location, this convoy of roaming cafes allows coffee lovers to indulge in the finest roasts in unique locations throughout the city. Many will often roll in to Burj Park in downtown Dubai for Eat the World DXB or can be found in Zabeel Park or Al Barsha Pond Park for the Ripe Outdoor Market.
Dubai’s vibrant coffee scene is the new happy hour. With stellar artisan coffee houses and mobile experiences unlike any other, Dubai really knows how to do once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in style. The burgeoning cafe culture sweep through Dubai’s streets and neighborhoods means coffee lovers can satisfy every coffee urge.
Kunal Lahori is the Founder & CEO of Pret To Go, a brand of organic and healthy cafes located across the UAE in 8 business clusters in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. His philosophy is very simple: providing wholesome, fresh, handcrafted and delicious food for busy professionals without the luxury of time.
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