The driving force behind Specialty Coffee scene in UAE
From Melbourne to owning multiple successful projects in the UAE, Ryan Godinho has been contributing to raising café standards and coffee quality
Passion for coffee
Ryan Godinho first fell in love with the fast-paced coffee industry during his school years, while working various part-time hospitality jobs in Melbourne. Now, one of the pioneers of specialty coffee in the UAE, he garnered substantial knowledge and skills by interacting with those who he regarded as inspirational cafe owners and coffee pioneers in his hometown.
A city renowned for their cafe culture with great coffee at the heart of it all, Melbourne was the perfect place to ignite the passion and motivate Godinho in his quest.
Raising café standards in the UAE
In 2009, a global collective for the Specialty Coffee community, World Coffee Events, called for point-person to launch a series of competitions within the UAE that focused on the art of coffee preparation. Each year, these National championships would secure a spot for a UAE representative to compete against 54 other countries on a World stage. The UAE Barista Championship was born with Godinho assigned as the UAE National coordinator to initiate and manage all licensed National Coffee Championships.
Alongside these events, being the regions’ first lead instructor licensed by Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) he would also host the UAE’s foremost certified coffee educational programmes.
Authorised to conduct accredited educational programs covering topics such as green coffee, roasting, sensory, brewing and barista skills, Godinho's enthusiasm and superior educational content paved the way for many of the coffee professionals seen across in the UAE today. And he did not stop there.
He would go on to establish projects that continue to be staples within the UAE’s coffee scene.
The Specialty Batch project was born in 2011 to raise awareness and share knowledge of the entire coffee chain from seed to cup. Within a year of inception, what started as a humble vocational training facility, soon grew to larger operations providing restaurants and coffee shops with innovative coffee equipment, accessories and exclusive specialty coffee locally roasted by the expert himself.
A coffee lover turned entrepreneur
By observing the demands of the hospitality industry in the UAE, specifically in Dubai, Godinho seized the opportunity to develop projects that met the growing need for high-quality coffee.
Stomping Grounds opened in 2015, bringing classic and modern Australian vibes to Dubai. What started as a proof of concept and live demo coffee bar for Specialty Batch Coffee, manifested into an prominent specialty cafe focusing on maintaining quality and consistency year on year.
Today, the multi award-winning cafe offers visitors the experience of savouring seasonal specialty coffees along with an impressive breakfast, lunch or dinner menu. The café is undoubtedly a flagship extension of Specialty Batch Coffee and as such, Stomping Grounds has since been a true inspirational model for the many UAE-grown cafes that followed.
With solid foundations and a strong ethos, Godinho knew he had to focus on developing his operations at a sustainable rate.
He turned his attention to Specialty Batch Coffee and opened a new coffee roastery location in 2017. And in 2021, he consolidated harbour-side at Mina Rashid with a new roastery and coffee hub to support his ever-growing clientele of over 400 restaurants and cafes across the country.
Godinho's passion for creating soulful hospitality spaces doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In 2022 he co-founded another project in Mina Rashid. For over a decade, Ryan Godinho has been instrumental to the specialty coffee scene in the UAE, whether he’s training coffee newcomers or professionals, supporting the café ecosystem by providing top-tiered products and services, or creating spaces for locals and visitors to enjoy exceptional coffee experiences
An inspiring story that proves that passion, when nurtured, can lead to great success, not only on a personal level but on a larger scale, impacting an entire region.
— Ayush is the content strategist at Tedfuel