Ingredient Focus: Coffee

Experts in the GCC discuss trends, challenges and news relating to coffee



Cremesso Viva B6

The Swiss-engineered Cremesso Viva B6 has a warm up time of 15 seconds and extracts more coffee flavour from every capsule due to its new pre-infusion system. The three-second pre-infusion function enables the machine to produce a more intense espresso or ristretto. Individual pump settings also ensure that the coffee develops a more complex aroma profile. The Viva B6, which also has settings for tea, has a water-level monitor that alerts you when the water tank is almost empty. The machine offers three different programmable buttons for different cup heights and two programmable buttons for different cups of tea. Its collecting tray capacity for used capsules is eight to 10.

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Nespresso capsules at Coffee Planet

Coffee Planet has launched a new range of four Nespresso-compatible coffee capsules, each filled with an individual blend of 100% Arabica coffee, freshly roasted and packed immediately in Dubai. Ristretto (strength profile 10) has a dry cinnamon aroma with a hint of dark chocolate; Espresso (strength profile 6) has a sweet almond-biscuit aroma with a dry cocoa powder finish; Lungo (strength profile 5) has a nutty aroma with a caramel finish; and Decaf (strength profile 5) offers a crème caramel aroma with creamy texture. The range features a lick-cap capsule design, which enhances coffee extraction. Available in selected retail outlets as well as online at, the boxes are priced at US $5.70 (AED 21) for 10 capsules.

Bunn H3EA Hot Water Dispenser

The Bunn H3EA Hot Water Dispenser reliably provides hot water at an exact temperature in a sleek and counter space-friendly design.Measuring 19.3cm tall and with a 7.75cm cup clearance to accommodate an array of beverage containers, the H3EA can hold up to 11.4ltr of water that is heated to a specific temperature, programmed by a digital thermostat, which is accurate between 15.6 and 96°C. The H3EA is CE-rated and comes equipped with a Thinsulate tank to provide increased energy efficiency and a programmable energy-saving mode that reduces operating costs during idle periods.


Quality awareness in the coffee sector globally has grown enormously in recent years with coffee becoming a hugely varied beverage, and much loved part of our daily routines.

“Coffee is a very important part of the culture in the Middle East and an essential part of people’s daily life as it plays a pivotal role in bringing people together whether at home or on-the-go, which is why the industry is doing so well.

“Espresso and Turkish coffees are the most popular, with French press, Italian coffee and capsules being the most popular for coffee drinkers at home. In the UAE specifically, the market is expected to grow by more than 30% in the next four years, as the country’s trading hub emerges as a key supply cog in the global coffee supply chain,” explains Cleia Junqueira, roast master of Coffee Planet.

Armiel Alkuino, professional barista in La Marquise International, adds: “Coffee is very popular in the Middle East whether it’s Arabic coffee, American or Italian style ones. Nowadays, a cup of coffee is offered in every restaurant, café, or even food truck.

“Definitely milk-based coffee beverages like cappuccino or latte are extremely popular. In this case we always suggest our clients use a mix of Arabica and Robusta to burst the coffee flavour hidden by milk. For espresso and espresso lungo we recommend both 100% Arabica beans, and again a mix of Arabica with 10 to 20% of Robusta, as consumers in the Middle East prefer bitterness to acidity.”

Coffee, while popular in the market and very lucractive, is not without its challenges.

In terms of sourcing, Junqueira describes finding the right type of coffee from the right farmers as “a core part of” Coffee Planet’s business, and requires her to regularly travel to different countries to meet new farmers.

She elaborates: “When a sample comes into the roastery, a long process takes place to ensure the quality and flavour of the coffee is consistent and up to our stringent standard. The challenge lies in maintaining a strong relationship with our farmers, as our purchases are dependent on reliability and continuity.”

Alkuino says that brewing light to medium coffees is challenging. “There’s a lot of variables you need to consider, such as grind size, brewing time and temperatures, ingredients’ ratio, water pressure and brewing techniques. All of these should fall right into their places in order to produce a good quality cup.”

Lina Chiodo, Bunn vice president sales and marketing, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and India, vice president global accounts, states: “All challenges in producing the best results in the cup can be overcome if proper training and proper equipment is being used”, otherwise baristas could “ruin a cup of coffee in four to six minutes, which is the brewing time”.

Intersect by Lexus head of beverage Blanka Janska notes: “Everything affects the flavour of the coffee: quality of the coffee beans, roastery, water quality, temperature, grinding size, and so on.”

Junqueira adds that besides quality and consistency, “getting the right tasting profile can take a very long time”.

She shares: “The key to quality and flavour is consistency and making sure everything goes in the right order: from when the samples arrive at our roastery, up until they are packaged and served. From cupping, a tasting process whereby we check the taste and smell of brewed coffee, to roasting and packaging. Any change in the order can affect the flavour and freshess.”

On the topic of barista education, Alkuino advises that first and foremost, baristas should get to know their coffees very well — which means being aware of the bean’s origin, its variety, altitude where the beans were grown, the area and micro-climate conditions.

Second of all, baristas should understand how to taste coffees and to differentiate various flavours. What is the variety of acidy, sweetness and bitterness, and what is a good balance between them all?

And third, baristas should know how to operate and calibrate their coffee machine and grinder to insure the best quality of coffee beverages served, he continues, adding that if a barista has speciality coffee knowledge then their salary “would double or even triple” making it “a good career to explore”.


Fears raised that the world's coffee supply is running out
A recent report by news channel AJ+ highlights figures that suggest while world demand for coffee is increasing, supply is down. In Costa Rica alone, coffee exports for January 2016 were down by 20%. The issues surrounding this decrease in supply include the number of coffee farmers giving up their farms for more profitable and stable livelihoods in cities, AJ+ stated.

Other issues believed to be placing global coffee supply in danger include global warming. According to a past report by AJ+ on the subject, the effect of unpredictable climate creates conditions that have led to increased fungus growth on crops at farms in Latin America. Consequently, there is believed to be a direct correlation between the warm and wet seasons (exacerbated in the region by climate change) and coffee leaf rust, a form of fungus that can destroy coffee crops.

Mokha 1450 brings most expensive coffee to Dubai
Mokha 1450 claims to be offering Dubai’s most expensive coffee — a Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee with a premium price tag of $68 (AED250) for one 250g bag. Coffees deemed ‘speciality’ are required to have a rating of at least 80 or upwards out of 100, and Mokha 1450 says that this particular variety scores a 100% Grade One rating due to its ‘superior flavour profile’.

Speaking exclusively to Hotelier Middle East, Mokha 1450 managing director Garfield Kerr said: “Given that many JBM coffees on offer are not Grade One and that some JBM Grade One are generally blended with other coffee to cut costs, the Mokha 1450 JBM Grade One is a rarity among rarities as it is 100% Grade One coffee that is unadulterated and pure.”

Besides being available by the bag, the coffee is sold in Mokha 1450 for $12 (AED45) for an espresso and $13-$40 (AED50-150) for a cup, depending on brew style.

Top trends

Third wave: The third wave of coffee is a movement to produce high-quality coffee, and consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, rather than a commodity, and it is becoming more popular, observes Blanka Janska, head of beverage at Dubai restaurant Intersect by Lexus. “People are starting to be more interested in speciality coffee and about third wave. Third wave is very popular in Scandinavia and Europe and gradually spreading all around the world,” reports Janska.

Cold brew: “There have been changes in the way people consume coffee. For example, cold brew has become very popular, especially in this region, as people find it more refreshing than the usual cup of coffee because it is sweeter and less acidic,” says Cleia Junqueira, roast master of Coffee Planet. Different brewing methods are growing more popular and cold brew in particular represents a new and emerging coffee market; in the US alone, the cold-brew market reached US $7.9 million in sales last year, representing an increase of 115% from the previous year.

Wyndham Grand in Doha launched Brew Parlor in January this year, a café concept that offers cold beverages, made exclusively with cold brew coffee. The menu of coffee beverages and ‘coffee cocktails’ was created by chef Stephanie Izard, whom Wyndham has dubbed ‘chef de caffeine’ at Brew Parlor.

Local sourcing: Part of the growing higher regard for coffee as an artisanal foodstuff comes from consumers’ knowledge of coffee continuously improving, asserts Junqueira, who says this development is also “why there is an increased demand for locally roasted coffee”.

Speciality: Armiel Alkuino, professional barista at La Marquise International, notes that speciality coffee has become more popular in the Middle East. “For the past 18 months we have seen a growth of speciality coffees, which is a good indicator of the development and evolution of our coffee culture in the region,” he says. He adds that speciality coffee, as defined by Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), are “the type of coffees that have grown in special geographic microclimates producing beans with unique flavour profiles”.

In addition, Alkuino remarks that speciality coffee beans are always well prepared, freshly roasted and properly brewed. “In speciality coffee shops everybody from the owner, to the service staff would know the full history behind the coffee cup they serve. Baristas apart from brewing a perfect cup of coffee will also concentrate on funky designs and presentation with a personal touch,” he comments.

Filter: “Filter has become the star, more and more knowledge is being shared, and consumers are highly interested in learning about it,” sums up Lina Chiodo, Bunn vice president sales and marketing, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and India, vice president global accounts. She adds: “The knowledge of coffee has grown exponentially over the last few years, especially when it comes to filter coffee and speciality. You now see shops featuring coffee menus and speaking about single origin, this is a new day in the market.”

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