Eight UAE coffee roasters making their mark

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RAW Coffee Company

One of Dubai’s foremost coffee roasters, RAW Coffee Company uses 100 per cent certified organic and ethically traded Arabica beans from across Africa and South and Central America. The company roasts about 2.7 tonnes of beans each week in Dubai, supplying to many local coffee shops and restaurants across the country. Customers who want to take RAW coffee home can pick up packets from the roastery, which has an on-site espresso bar where guests can sample different varieties. There are currently five blends on offer, each with different profiles and preparation methods. A customer favourite, WORKING, is a smooth medium bodied blend with a balanced acidity that cuts through the sweet milk. It is best drunk as a flat white. “The roasting is the heart and soul of our business,” managing director Kim Thompson says. “We like to roast little and often and run a ‘just in time’ process ensuring our customers get to prepare their coffee between day seven and day 21, which is the optimum time for freshness.”

Where: Al Quoz, Dubai

Contact: 04 339 5474, www.rawcoffeecompany.com

Pricing: 500g, Dh85

The Sum of Us

The Sum of Us is a coffee enthusiast’s paradise, where signature blends are the order of the day. The cafe’s on-site roastery enables baristas to experiment with different flavours and ensure that their produce is perfectly aged and of optimal quality.

“Right now in the roastery we have coffee from Colombia, Guatemala and Ethiopia, which are currently the three components in our house blend, Tsounami, as well as a fresh batch of Kenyan Kii which I literally cannot wait to try,” said head of coffee Antony Papandreou. “Kenyan coffee is one of the most vibrant, fruity coffees available and I really think it’s going to blow people’s minds once we get this on our brew bar.”

As well as providing coffee for the cafe, the roastery produces extra for customers to take away. The venue also sells brewing equipment and hosts classes on how to get the best out of the equipment and the beans.

Where: Bur Al Salam, Trade Centre, Dubai

Contact: 056 4457526, www.thesumofusdubai.com

Pricing: 250g, Dh65

Speciality Batch

If you are partial to Arabica coffee, Speciality Batch is the place to go. The company produces Specialty Coffee, which is a grade of Arabica coffee referring to the top 17 per cent of worldwide coffee production. In other words, it is of extremely high quality. Beans are sourced seasonally on a rotation of 14 distinctly characteristic farms across South America and Africa, and then roasted in Dubai to develop their unique flavours.

Co-Founder Ryan Godinho said: “Our selections cover a large spectrum, with our choice of lower-grown coffee offering heavier bodied, nutty, chocolate notes, all the way up to our choice of high-grown coffees [cultivated at more than 2100m above sea level] which incorporate more subtle, sweet fruit and floral notes.”

Speciality batch roasts small batches of coffee to order and guarantees delivery within one to five days of being roasted, making it some of the freshest coffee in the Emirates.

Where: 1514, Grosvenor Business Tower, Tecom, Dubai

Contact: 04 431 2720, www.specialtybatch.com

Pricing: 500g, Dh60 to Dh190

Boon Coffee

Boon Coffee imports beans from Ethiopia, founder Orit Mohammed’s homeland. The country is one of the most diverse coffee producers in the world, renowned not just for high quality, but volume.

“Ethiopia is famous for its highland coffees, such as Yirgacheffe and Sidamo, which have bright, fruity flavours and we stay true to that,” says Mohammed. “However we also bring coffee from Harrar, which has more nutty and chocolate undertones.”

After sorting and blending the bean types, Boon Coffee roasts about one tonne a month to stock its cafe in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, and other venues including La Serre, Baker and Spice, Gallery Lafayette and Urban Bistro. You can also purchase bags of coffee, with a minimum order of Dh150, which are delivered free of charge in Dubai.

Where: 1 Lake Plaza, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai

Contact: 04 421 4500, www.booncoffee.com

Pricing: 150g, Dh38

Mokha 1450

Named after a seaport in Yemen and the year when coffee exports began there, Mokha 1450 is a unique concept with strong ethical foundations.

The company produces and home-roasts five unique origins of coffee, four of which are in direct trade with female farmers in a part of the world where women struggle to find work.

The heirloom blend, Geisha, is made from beans grown on the Sebree Mountains in Ethiopia and farmed by a cooperative of 70 female farmers, called the Talook Women’s Coffee Association.

Inside the cafe, customers can select a blend and have it brewed to their preferences. They can also buy bags to take away or arrange standing orders with customised roast levels for their homes or offices – the ultimate coffee connoisseur’s treat.

Where: Al Wasl Road, Dubai

Contact: 04 321 6455, www.mokha1450.com

Pricing: 250g, Dh49 to Dh150

Maison Maatouk

Maison Maatouk is a ­family- run company with strong Lebanese roots. It was founded in Beirut in 1960 and enjoyed success across Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.

These days, the bulk of the business takes place in Lebanon and, since the 1990s, in the UAE. As well as cafes in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, Maison Maatouk has a state-of-the-art factory in the capital.

Describing themselves as “coffee crafters”, the creatives at Maison Maatouk pride themselves on their premium coffee blends. They use the finest beans – including the renowned Blue Mountain, a bean grown at the highest spot in Jamaica – and also source their supply from across Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Kenya.

After being micro-dissected and tested, the beans that pass Maison Maatouk’s stringent quality tests are roasted to produce four types – Lebanese, Arabic, American and Espresso. They’re then ground and stored in fresh packaging that ensures lasting aroma and taste.

Where: Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi

Contact: 02 6666824, www.maisonmaatouk.com

Pricing: 250g, Dh50

Coffee Planet

Coffee Planet is one of the UAE’s fastest growing coffee roasteries. The company produces Single Origin varieties from Colombia, Burundi, India, Indonesia and Ethiopia, plus a number of 100 per cent pure Arabica coffee blends, including decaf and organic alternatives.

Arabica options are available in bags or capsule form, which can be easily used with Nespresso machines. For those who’d rather brew the traditional way, the store sells ­coffee-brewing starter kits, which are perfect for coffee novices.

If you want some advice from the experts, pick up the Roastmaster’s Brew of the Month, which for September is Single Origin: Colombia (Finca El Obraje) – a medium-roast fully washed Caturra that combines juicy green apple with blackberry and chocolate sweetness.

Where: Al Quoz, Dubai

Contact: 800 263333, www.coffeeplanetroastery.com

Pricing: 250g, from Dh35 for Single Origin, from Dh20 for Arabica

Common Grounds

Coffee fans are in for a treat at this new artisanal coffee shop in Mall of the Emirates, which opens today.

Common Grounds, a fresh concept and third offering from the Tom&Serg crew – The Sum of Us is the second – answers the prayers of coffee-­loving shoppers with a menu of freshly baked snacks and rich, aromatic coffee.

The cafe uses its sister venue’s home-roasted signature Tsounami blend, which will be transported freshly after every toasting batch.

The cafe presents a unique, artisanal option to shoppers looking for a quality caffeinated pick-me-up.

Where: Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

Contact: 04 352 9535, www.commongroundsdubai.com

Pricing: 250g, Dh65