Wake up and smell the Coffee
Ryan Godinho gives Kipp an insight into the coffee consumption trend and business outlook in the country
August 14, 2012 2:41 by M. Aldalou
Has there been any interest in luxury novelty items where a cup of coffee costs 300 Dhs or more? It appears that the UAE population has grown fond of such luxuries and we have seen them with other food products.
Local coffee prices can range from about AED 5 to about AED 50. There are some expensive cafes that offer novelty blends and a few unusual varieties of coffee. However these are mainly associated with the higher-end hotels and are not overly popular among the local coffee drinking community.
How has the festival affected the growth of the industry in the country?
The Coffee and Tea festival has definitely played a substantial role in the growing businesses of local roasters. The event has also assisted many newcomers to the industry looking to set up cafes which will determine how fast the specialty coffee sector and café business grows in the region. Overall, the various segments have helped raise the consumer awareness, their appreciation of coffee and tea, as well as product knowledge.
Do you feel that cafe patrons attend cafes out of boredom, routine or passion for the bean?
In the UAE as with any part of the world a café is the ideal place for people of any nationality to socialize, conduct business meetings or even just enjoy a good coffee. Being a Muslim country with restricted alcohol-themed venues, cafés prove to be the most popular hangout for those of all age groups. As the café business grows, specialty themes will develop around coffee shops which will eventually target the lifestyle choices of people.
Is there still a large gap in the market for new businesses to enter? Would you advise coffee/tea companies to set up here or is it washed out?
A local market study will show that there is a substantial gap for many new businesses to enter. Specialty Coffee and Tea is still in its infancy in this region, and the opportunities are endless for gourmet cafes, specialty roasters, Tea houses etc. We believe that growth will be seen in the neighbourhood cafes serving residential communities.
The largely expat based community in the UAE play an important part in the need for improvement and development. Most are aware of specialty coffee and tea but are restricted by what is currently available.
Ryan Godinho, National Coordinator for UAE, World Coffee Events.
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