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Meet the Emirati Entrepreneurs Brewing Success in the UAE's Coffee Scene

In the UAE's coffee scene, Emirati entrepreneurs are carving their niche with creativity and Arabian hospitality, challenging the monopoly of established brands

One such entrepreneur is Mohammad Al Farran, who leads the expansion of the British coffee chain, Black Sheep Coffee, within the Emirates. Al Farran was struck by Black Sheep Coffee's departure from Arabica beans in favor of Robusta, leading him to introduce the brand to Dubai, a city he views as a vibrant center of innovation, aligning with his vision for Black Sheep Coffee in the region. Al Farran aims for community-focused cafes, where patrons feel like family, going beyond mere uniqueness and excellence. Al Farran offers a variety of specialty coffees, including blends that are exclusive to the region, such as Arabic latte and white haze, alongside unique creations such as Mbili Twiga, a Kilimanjaro and Arusha-inspired beverage with berries, Bossa Nova, which is sourced from Brazil, and Colombian Blue Volcano.

Mohammad Al Farran

However, it's not just international chains making waves in the UAE coffee scene. Homegrown boutiques, like Coffee Architecture in Abu Dhabi, led by Emirati barista Nooran Albannay, add to the diverse coffee culture. Albannay's journey with coffee began in her childhood, influenced by her grandmother's tradition of preparing traditional Arabic gahwa. Inspired by her grandmother's legacy, Albannay transformed her passion into a business, aiming to share the warmth and hospitality of gahwa with all who visit her café. Albannay recently created a seasonal blend named J's Drip, featuring flavors of sweet mandarin and candied strawberry, currently available until June.

Additionally, she suggests trying the café's manual ice chemex brew. Having already joined the National Barista Championship in both 2023 and 2024, Albannay aspires to compete for her nation in the World Barista Championship and promote the presence of Arab women in the global coffee industry.

Emirati barista Nooran Albannay 

Similarly, Ali Tahlak, founder of Falcon Coffee Roasters, was motivated by his deep love for coffee to establish his roastery in 2020. Recognizing the increasing demand for high-quality beans in the UAE's burgeoning coffee market, Tahlak saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between farmers and coffee shops while maintaining ethical sourcing practices.

His ultimate goal is to expand globally, leveraging his commitment to quality and ethical sourcing to establish Falcon Coffee Roasters as a prominent player in the industry. His top three finds are the HeyCafe espresso grinder, V60 Simply Hario Glass Brewing Kit, and Colombia Finca El Paraiso beans, all of which are offered by Falcon Coffee Roasters.

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