As Dubai gears up to host Expo 2020 Dubai from October 1, the date also marks another occasion, launched at another World Expo. At the Milan Expo in 2015, the International Coffee Organisation deemed this day would be celebrated as International Coffee Day.
Originally meant to promote ethical industry practices (think fair trade beans, liveable wages for plantation workers and sustainable coffee farming), the day has since been marked with restaurants and cafes the world over offering patrons free or subsidised brews.
Here's where you can get yours in Dubai:
The healthy food venue has partnered with Orbis Coffee to host a free-to-attend online coffee masterclass live on @flowdubai Instagram account on Thursday, September 30, at 3pm. The first 100 guests who visit either of Flow’s two branches will get a free cuppa (the cafe is known for its ethically sourced small-batched blends).
Flow has branches in Jumeirah Emirates Towers and Dubai Internet City; call 800 666 353 for more information
The Lime Tree Cafe
Serving its own blend of organic, fair trade Ethiopian coffee that’s roasted and ground in Dubai, The Lime Tree Cafe has a two-for-one deal on Friday, at all its seven locations in the emirate. These can be enjoyed with a complimentary espresso biscotti or a new coffee cake (Dh28 for a slice) whipped up for the occasion.
Additionally, guests who pick up a Boon reusable coffee mug retailed at the cafe will get it at 50 per cent off, while those who bring in their own cups will get Dh2 off their hot coffee on the day and for the rest of the year.
The Lime Tree Cafe has branches in Jumeirah 1, Town Square, Al Quoz, Motor City, Depachika Food Hall, Sheikh Zayed Road and The Springs Souk; call 04 325 6325 or visit thelimetreecafe.com for more information
Just Vegan Jumeirah
The plant-based cafe that prides itself on “veganising” popular dishes and drinks will offer the first 50 cups of coffee free of charge at its Jumeirah Road branch on Friday. Customer number 51 and onward can get any coffee for a discounted price of Dh9; a coffee and two refills for Dh12; or a coffee and three refills for Dh15, for the rest of the day.
If you want to pair your cuppa with a vegan snack, the banana and coconut French toast, Asian noodle salad and mushroom burger come highly recommended.
Umm Suqeim 1; call 04 546 3392 for more information
Old Castello Restaurant & Cafe
One of Dubai’s oldest sports lounges has long recognised that shisha and coffee pair well together. The Indian-Arabic themed spot, which boasts 12 LED screens across a 10,000-square-foot space, will serve its first 50 cold coffees free of charge. This is followed by a discounted offer of Dh35 for one shisha (flavours range from the traditional apple, grape and mint to desi paan flavours) and one coffee (either the KitKat or Oreo mocha frappe) from 4pm to 7pm.
Jumeirah 1; call 04 526 0678 for more information
Paying homage to its home-grown roots, Sikka Cafe will serve complimentary finjans of Emirati or Saudi Arabian qahwa at its three branches all day long on Friday, alongside platters of Arabic dates. The cafe also offers an expansive Middle Eastern menu, serving everything from balaleet, chebab and falafel to shakshuka, manakeesh and foul madamas, plus katayef and luqaimat for dessert.
Sikka Cafe has branches in City Walk (04 385 6524), La Mer, (04 385 6775) and Al Khawaneej (04 284 9521)
A cup of complimentary Arabic coffee and dates are also to be had all day at this Ottoman-inspired cafe on Palm Jumeirah. Free cuppas are available to those who buy a slice of cake, too. At Dh40 a pop, you can get a Madagascar vanilla fruit cake, a pistachio and strawberry cake or a mango and coconut cake.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray; call 04 453 0444 for more information
Sahn Eddar, Burj Al Arab
Innovative architecture and opulent interiors aside, the Burj Al Arab is also known for its gold cappuccino. Served at Sahn Eddar lounge, located within the hotel's famous atrium, the luscious coffee is topped with 24k gold and gold flake sprinkles, and embellished with the Burj Al Arab design. It is served with a Grand Cru Guanaja, a chocolate marshmallow that is sprinkled with a finishing touch of mill-ground gold, served on a customised set of fine-bone china, finished with gold and inspired by the hotel lobby, all for Dh120.
To mark International Coffee Day, Sahn Eddar offers a complimentary pastry with every gold cappuccino purchased: flavours include lemon meringue, hazelnut, vanilla and raspberry, strawberry and coconut, pear and milk chocolate cream, and, perhaps most fittingly, an Arabic coffee and coconut crunch pastry with vanilla mousse.
Burj Al Arab; call 04 301 7600 for more information
The cafe will offer a free cafe au lait with every purchase of a meal at both its branches on Friday. Although it’s most popular for its breakfast dishes, Eggspectation also has an indulgent main meal menu, which takes in lobster mac and cheese, fiery chimichurri steak and Portuguese pirri pirri chicken.
Eggspectation has branches in JBR (04 430 7252) and City Walk (04 240 6877)
Bite Me Burger
The mini-burger joint is enabling coffee lovers to “stay caffeinated” this International Coffee Day with a discount on its speciality coffee and tea subscription. This usually costs Dh149 for a month, but if you sign up for three months on October 1, you can enjoy one month of unlimited coffee (and tea) on the house.
Bite Me Burger has branches in Gate Avenue in the Dubai International Financial Centre and The Pavilion at Jumeirah Park; visit ae.bitemeburger.com/unlimited-coffee for more information
Marks & Spencer
The chain will hand out 425 free cups of coffee on October 1: 100 servings in Dubai Festival City Mall and Yas Mall, 50 in The Dubai Mall, Springs Souq, Marina Walk and Ibn Battuta, and 25 in Dubai Festival Plaza. M&S also sells a range of coffees - from instant coffee and Nespresso-compatible capsules, to ground blends and super-convenient coffee bags - and all customers who buy one will get 50 per cent off the second.
Marks & Spencer has branches across the UAE
Cypher Urban Roastery x Mondoux
The two food and beverage concepts are partnering up to offer complimentary brews, canapes and 90-minute workshops to coffee connoisseurs on Friday. Head to Mondoux cafe from noon to 1.30pm for a session on speciality coffee and manual brewing, which will provide insight into the history of coffee, as well as the journey from bean to cup, including brewing methods using the V60 and French Press.
If you’re more interested in embellishing your cuppa, sit in on the latte art session from 2pm to 3.30pm. This will impart some basic coffee knowledge as well as teach hands-on milk-frothing techniques.
Dubai Creek Harbour; call 04 584 5177 for more information