UAE: Tea-drinking Asians are increasingly switching to coffee, finds survey

Residents consume between two and three cups a day on average, with some drinking up to five cups of special highly-refined brews daily


Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 28 Sep 2022, 7:02 AM

Last updated: Wed 28 Sep 2022, 2:39 PM

Coffee consumption is growing in the UAE as tea-drinking Asian nationals are increasingly switching to coffee.

Among the diverse range of nationalities that have made the UAE their home, coffee consumption is quite high among Westerners and Arabs, especially among Gulf Arabs. On the other hand, westerners and Arabs in the UAE are increasing the consumption of their tea.

Mike Butler, CEO of Kava & Chai, the UAE’s homegrown coffee and tea house, said a survey conducted by the company found that the people from the traditional tea-drinking countries are increasing their coffee intake.

“In this part of the world, per person, coffee consumption is very heavy, particularly among Westerners and Arabs – especially among Gulf Arabs. Even when we look at some other population demographics, a lot of Indians are also switching to coffee from tea. Traditionally, India is a very tea-based drinking country, but there is a switch from tea to coffee going on,” said Butler.

The tea and coffee firm operates outlets in Dubai and Sharjah and is also planning to foray into Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia next year.

The UAE is one of the most developed coffee markets in the region, thanks to the establishment of the Coffee Centre by the Dubai MultiCommodities Centre.

Butler said Indians are switching from tea to coffee because it’s just a matter of being exposed to a different drink.

“For example, we are finding that westerners and Arabs are experimenting with tea. We are finding that the Asian population is experimenting more with coffee, particularly in UAE, where we have a melting pot of cultures and people look to try something new,” added the chief executive of Kava and Chai, whose name is a loose derivation of coffee and tea in Arabic.


Butler added that, on average, residents consume between two to three cups of coffee a day, but some people consume four to five cups of special and highly refined coffee daily.

“There are a lot of cheaper coffees that have twice the amount of caffeine. But if you’re drinking a very high-grade coffee, you can drink more,” he said.


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