In attending our first International Expo since 2020, we were like frothing groms before going for our first holiday surf. Like kids on Christmas morning. Like a person who has had to wait more than 2 hours for their first cup of coffee and they can see it coming towards them...
World of Coffee Dubai, the second edition of SCA's foray into the Middle East, was a wonderful celebration of the coffee industry.
A bit of context for the layperson: a Coffee Trade Show is like a wine tasting event but obviously with a very different kind of buzz. The Roasters that were in attendance bring along the coffees they are most proud of. The green coffee suppliers bring examples of their new crops and run cuppings. The equipment suppliers also connect with the best roasters to show off their wares (and wow, there was some incredible equipment on the floor) and how the coffee can be brewed on all the various espresso and alternate brewing methods.
So basically, it's coffee wonderland.
And it is very important to stay hydrated. I'll tell you why:
By the last day and my very last tasting with an extremely cool roastery based in Bombay, India called Subko. I was holding two tiny cups with different pour over coffees, one a specialty Robusta (we're definitely going to get the experts to tell us more about robusta this year!) and one a Liberica varietal, both grown in India. A lot of firsts for me. And separately, they were both unique and delicate and interesting. But together, taking one sip from each, I tasted a Steers Burger. A very specific flavour profile of a burger chain in South Africa. This was the moment I knew I had had too much coffee over the course of the three days. I had been sucked in to the almost psychedelic and I had my rainbow cupping spoon from Sucafina to guide me through. Crazy times!
Apart from trippy over-caffeinated experiences, the show was well laid out and the organisers did a great job of curating meetings of wonderful coffee people across the Middle East and beyond. It was great to see friends from Europe, Ethiopia, Rwanda and all our coffee friends from Dubai.
They held the UAE National Barista Championships at the event, which was a very professional affair and the eventual winner, Mariam Erin Pinza of Cosmic Garden Coffee, had some stiff competition from an incredible field all using phenomenal coffees, it was great to watch! We look forward to the South African National Championships next month, got us all excited! It's going to be an amazing World Barista Championships in Athens in June!
Congratulations to runner up Kemal Risyad of Archers Coffee and Nooran Albannay of Coffee Architecture, both of whom competed in the first A Shot in the Dark Middle East competition in 2022!
Lots of good coffee business was done and new connections made, which means exciting things ahead for consumers! Let's go 2023!!!