How DMCC is helping Dubai become a global hub for coffee

Dubai has a rich, vibrant history with coffee, with the beverage intertwined with the emirate’s culture of warm hospitality


Mazhar Farooqui

Published: Tue 9 Aug 2022, 10:05 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Aug 2022, 11:16 PM

Khaleej Times caught up with self-confessed coffee aficionado Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and CEO of DMCC, who is championing speciality coffee and positioning Dubai as the hub for global coffee trade through the DMCC Coffee Centre.

Excerpts from an interview:

How has the third wave of coffee changed Dubai’s coffee landscape?

Dubai has a rich, vibrant history with coffee, with the beverage intertwined with the emirate’s culture of warm hospitality.

I believe consumers in Dubai are perhaps more knowledgeable than those in other markets; they can truly appreciate a quality product. This translates to coffee shops offering high-quality and single-origin speciality coffee gaining popularity as consumers develop a preference for particular flavour profiles.

The story-telling element of the third wave of coffee also resonates well with Dubai’s consumers.

Simultaneously, demand is further increasing as people become more in tune with the positive social impact that speciality coffee often provides.

How important is sustainability to consumer?

It is a major deciding factor for many consumers, and the third wave’s story-telling can emphasise this positive impact.

What’s the role of the DMCC Coffee Centre?

The DMCC Coffee Centre has helped Dubai become a global hub for coffee. Our core roasting, warehousing and packaging solutions are backed-up by additional offerings such as our barista training facility, meaning we support the entire coffee industry from crop to cup. We are bringing the world’s finest varieties of coffee to Dubai.

The DMCC Coffee Centre also plays a key role in supporting coffee shops across the UAE and beyond, primarily through the provision of roasting and specialised services. By using our facilities and expertise, over 20 speciality coffee concepts across the country are able to offer a unique product to their customers.

We also host a range of barista competitions to further support the coffee ecosystem in Dubai.

“Competitions such as the Aeropress and Cup Tasters championships offer an opportunity for Dubai’s baristas to hone their skills and demonstrate their expertise, which in turn enhances the coffee that they offer to their customers.”

What’s next for the coffee industry in Dubai?

The third wave will continue to significantly influence Dubai’s coffee scene across multiple aspects of the sector.

One that I am particularly interested in is the innovative ways in which Dubai’s coffee entrepreneurs can bring high-quality coffee to the home of consumers.

Separately, through the work of the DMCC Coffee Centre in connecting with a diverse range of producers worldwide, Dubai’s consumers can also expect a greater range of coffee origins to be made available to them.

Many of our members are importing premium speciality coffee directly from the origin farms from across the world. Additionally, we regularly hold coffee auctions with a vast range of speciality coffee varieties on offer.

Each of these efforts are key for consumers looking to find the right bean, roasting and brewing combination that creates their perfect cup of coffee.


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