Gulfood Manufacturing 2016

‘Battle of the Baristas’ UAE coffee consumption to reach $112m in 2017

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coffee Middle east

 A total of eight of the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) most talented baristas battled it out for the second edition of the MENA Cezve/Ibrik Championship at Gulfood Manufacturing this month (November 7-9).

In partnership with the Speciality Food Festival 2016, at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) the coffeemakers prepared Cezve or Ibrik, otherwise known as ‘Turkish coffee,’ as part of the event, organized by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE).

Cezve/Ibrik World Championship

Winner Karthikeyan Ranjedran wowed the judges with his signature blend, which includes balsamic vinegar, cocoa reduction, vanilla raspberry tea and gelatine. He will now represent the region at the Cezve/Ibrik World Championship 2017 (June 12-15) in Budapest, Hungary.

Sara Al Ali from Saudi Arabia and A.J. Padilla from the UAE finished second and third place, respectively.

David Veal, executive director, SCAE, said the competition has taken on significance as the traditional Ibrik method of coffee preparation started in the Middle East in the 14th century.

Having debuted last year, the MENA Cezve/Ibrik Championship has emerged into a highly sought-after accolade for regional baristas​,” he said.

UAE coffee sales are expected to rise by almost a third over the next four years, with UAEcoffee consumption to reach $112m in 2017, ​according to Zagat online resource.

According to Euromonitor International, the UAE is now home to over 4,000 tea and coffee houses with one in every five adult residents drinking coffee daily.

Important growth territory

The Speciality Food Festival has attracted a host of international coffee, gourmet and organic food suppliers that see the MENA region as an important growth territory over the next few years.

Karthikeyan Ranjedran brewed his way to top honours in the second MENA Cezve Ibrik Championship at the Speciality Food Festival
Winner Karthikeyan Ranjedran

Annual increases of 2.5% in the GCC region’s per capita income through to 2019 are expected to fuel regional demand for discretionary and high-priced food products such as organic food, cut-vegetables, ready-to-cook meals, marinated meat and flavored milk, as well as gourmet coffee products.

Staged over three days, the performance of MENA Cezve/Ibrik Championship contestants was evaluated on the taste of coffee served, cleanliness, technical skills, creativity and presentation.

From left to right - A.J. Padilla, Sara Al Ali, and Karthikeyan Ranjedran
Left to right: A.J. Padilla, Sara Al Ali and Karthikeyan Ranjedran.

The judging panel comprised Konstantinos Komninakis, the Cezve/Ibrik world champion in 2016; Stavros Lamprinidis, the 2014 world champion; and experts from across the UAE coffee industry.

BeverageDaily spoke to participant, Louie Palacio Alaba, head barista, Kaffa Beans Speciality Coffee shop, Dubai, to find out what the competition meant to him.

We feel like we are part of a big movement in Dubai regarding speciality coffee​,” he said.

This event gives us an opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise to give people a great cup of coffee, understand where it is sourced and publicize the farmers who grow the coffee beans​.”

Kaffa Beans only buy freshly harvested coffee which is in season directly from the farmers and roasts it light to medium to bring out the maximum sweetness and body. It has no milk, sugar and flavors. It only sells coffee within 10 days of its roast date.

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