Coffee from the Arab Emirate of Dubai

Coffee from the Arab Emirate of Dubai

Old Dubai where a coffee museum holds real treasures

Dubai is not on your radar when it comes to coffee. Although there is now a growing specialty coffee scene there too, the western or even Far Eastern mega-metropolises from Milan to New York to Tokyo are more of a trend barometer for the latest coffee innovations, but as is so often the case, it is worth taking a closer look. So it’s time for a Research, because the small emirate of Dubai has not only drawn attention to itself in recent years with insane record buildings and shopping paradises, but the world exhibition will also take place there from autumn 2020. The subject of food – including coffee, of course – will also play a role there, and a real “Food Expo” is being planned. Already now everyone can watch the preparations that are being made for the next year. “Old Dubai”, the old Dubai has been renovated and conveys the flair of an old nomad city – countless shops and restaurants included. And lo and behold, in the middle of the old city there is a coffee museum that contains real treasures.

Coffee culture from A to Z

If you want to get to grips with the origins of coffee culture, there is hardly any other place in the world where you will find such a rich collection of original tools and utensils from the Arab and East African regions. For example, roasting pans, mortars and coffee pots, as they were used in the early days of coffee culture. Everything that can be admired there in a relatively small space would be exhibited elsewhere as a single exhibit in a separate room. This is partly due to the geographical proximity, but above all to the tireless work of the museum’s founder, Khalid Al Mulla, who tirelessly travels around the world in order to personally bring together all the treasures that can be admired in the museum. For example, it is possible to experience an authentic Ethiopian coffee ceremony, because an original seating, cooking and coffee cup set was designed for this, including a “barista” in traditional garb. Most interesting finding: instead of sugar, salt is put into the coffee there. Or the coffee is served with some popcorn cooked over the fire and salted. That might sound exotic at first, but it is more than logical, given that salt is an important component in the electrolyte balance, which can become unbalanced more quickly due to excessive sweating – this can of course happen quickly, especially in warmer climates. But of course the props are by no means exhausted, no, they range from the beginnings of drinking coffee to the roasting and grinding mills of the 20th century. The historical coffee grinder collection from the hand mill to the first large industrial grinder is impressive.

What else the desert knows

Long before coffee played a role for people in the desert regions, there was already a staple food that we know very well in Europe too. What could that be? Of course, milk. But not from cows, but of course from camels. Traditionally, in all emirates the respective ruling family is responsible for the fate of the economy for the good of the population. The ruling family has been building a camel farm in addition to the high-tech sector for many years with the intention of producing milk in the desert so as not to be permanently dependent on foreign imports. In cafés and ice cream parlors, there is a coffee creation called “Camelcino” in addition to ice cream made from camel milk. So coffee with camel milk? In spite of all the love for the animals, the “camel taste” is unfortunately clearly out of control with this combination, whereby the milk does not taste bad even in typical regional flavors such as dates or saffron. Alternatively, a golden coffee with a “gold crema” is also served there. In terms of price, it can easily cost over 50 dollars, which is not unusual in Dubai: with a kilo price of 10,000 dollars, the most expensive coffee price to date was achieved at an auction there. If you are interested in coffee, you will definitely find it in Dubai.