Shiek Shock: UAE Coffee Scene Booming

Lahara Assey and her four colleagues hang out in their favourite coffee shop at least twice a day.

As if in a scene from Friends, they take their designated seats at the coffee bar and go over the day’s important gossip.

But unlike the American TV series, this scene is not set in New York, with its thousands of independent delis and specialist coffee vendors. This is the UAE…

The article goes on to feature three roasters based in Dubai – Raw, Orbis Foods and Coffee Planet – all of whom roast locally, supply to wholesale accounts and run their own flagship cafes throughout the UAE. Among these, Raw is likely the most high profile; they offer 24 hours or less coffee delivery within the UAE, and they’re home to 2010 UAE Barista Champion Raja Muthusamy. Go ahead, peruse their website, and you’ll find a small, ambitious roaster stradling that fine line so common in emerging specialty markets; they’re keen to advertise themselves as organic and local, to advocate for whole bean sales, and to offer extensive education services for wholesale customers and patrons (the aforementioned Raja Muthusamy is on staff as a training manager). Info on the coffees, however, are not readily available online; we’re instead left with a curious, almost suggestive sounding list of blend names, including “Tailored”, “Working” and “Casual” (better known as “TWC” in the personal ads of your local alt-weekly).

Anyhoo, sounds pretty interesting. Read the full feature here , while we ponder a trip to Dubai. There’s that indoor waterpark we keep hearing about, plus that crazy “Fifth Element”-lookin’ sail hotel, and lots other crazy crap we’re sure we’ve never heard of.  Round trip from SFO to DBX is just under $1200…belated Sprudge honeymoon?

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