Used as a means to welcome guests, coffee is significant in the hospitality sector throughout the Middle East. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, good hospitality is considered genuinely “good” when a cup of coffee is offered. Popular coffee, known as “alqahwa,” is served with dates at events, social gatherings, weddings and other occasions.
The Middle East has stood apart from the rest of the world when it comes to taking measures to boost growth in the coffee market. Two years ago, the government of Dubai invested USD 35 million in building a DMCC coffee center. The 7,500-squaremeter space features an SCA training campus, a coffee-quality lab and cupping labs. It’s anticipated that the center will handle up to 20,000 tonnes of green beans annually, valued at USD 100 million.
Nowadays, an increasing number of coffee consumers are looking for coffee-brewing products that are certified. The coffee market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around 5 percent in the coming years, having experienced significant expansion over the past two decades. Thus, increasing coffee consumption is positively influencing growth of the coffee-brewers market across the globe.
What are the latest trends in coffee?
The Middle East region has been a prominent coffee consumer for centuries. According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), Saudi Arabian coffee imports rose by 42.8 percent between 2008 and 2018. Turkey witnessed growth of 192.8 percent, while in the UAE, the figure was an incredible 249 percent. Penetration of numerous coffee products in the Middle Eastern market is encouraging awareness about coffee and its origins.
Regional coffee shops are upgrading their working standards and the quality of coffee they serve. The ever-expanding coffee culture of the Middle East, particularly in countries such as the UAE, Bahrain and Oman, is causing a shift in the behavior of younger generations, who are now gravitating toward coffee shops instead of consuming the beverage at home.
Rising coffee consumption at a global level is creating lucrative opportunities for countries in the Middle East to grow and export coffee. This is also pushing the trend of origin-specific coffees, as consumers across the world are demanding speciality and more premium coffees, shifting from instant coffee to more authentic varieties.
Popular coffee brands
The Middle East’s coffee market is highly competitive, with a number of local and global manufacturers dominating the market. Most coffee aficionados usually have around three to five specialty coffee roasters. Based on popularity, Arabica coffee beans provide a go-to coffee blend for any coffee lover. The availability of several Arabica coffee brands is pushing F&B outlets to choose the one that can supply the right blend to suit its consumers’ tastes. Some of these brands include La Colombe Corsica Blend, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hairbender Whole Bean Coffee, Death Wish Coffee Co. Whole Bean Coffee, Peet’s Coffee Big Ban Medium Roast and Equal Exchange Organic Whole Bean Coffee, among others. The Middle East’s coffee market is highly competitive, with a number of local and global manufacturers dominating the market. Most coffee aficionados usually have around three to five specialty coffee roasters. Based on popularity, Arabica coffee beans provide a go-to coffee blend for any coffee lover. The availability of several Arabica coffee brands is pushing F&B outlets to choose the one that can supply the right blend to suit its consumers’ tastes.Some of these brands include La Colombe Corsica Blend, Stumptown Coffee Roasters,Hairbender Whole Bean Coffee, Death Wish Coffee Co. Whole Bean Coffee, Peet’s Coffee Big Ban Medium Roast and Equal Exchange Organic Whole Bean Coffee,among others.
The coffee market has witnessed a drastic shift from traditional coffee shops to advanced or modern coffee shops, with automatic coffee vending machines and customized service techniques. This is linked to the disposable income of consumers, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which in turn boosts the market. Most well-known coffee manufacturers have intensified their R&D efforts in order to develop niche and innovative products based on the requirements of the end-user industry. Measures they are taking include expanding and building new coffee processing plants, upgrading existing coffee-processing units and installing state of- the-art coffee-drying equipment and constructing wastewater treatment plants.
In 2021, the Al Quoz-based coffee roastery RoR announced the expansion of its product range by 300 percent, taking its total offering to 20 different single origins and four different blends. The launch of the new blends came after the UAE witnessed a sharp rise in the number of cafes and takeaway coffee outlets. Two of the new origins, available from August, were sourced from the Cauca region in Colombia, two from the Tarrazu region in Costa Rica and two from North Sumatra, Indonesia. Adding to the new selection were origins from the Cerrado Mineiro and Chapada de Minas regions in Brazil, as well as origins from the Santa Ana region in Salvador.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become one of the fastest-growing coffee markets in the Middle East. Coffee is a traditional drink in the region, opening the door to franchise opportunities for worldrenowned and local brands.
For instance, Grano Coffee was founded in 2016 with a simple mission: to serve the best coffee in the most comfortable environment. It provides a unique and stylish ambience for its customers, with comfortable sofas, mouth-watering snacks, an extensive coffee menu and wireless internet access. Furthermore, the brand switched from providing customers with traditional desktop computers to more convenient laptops.
Café Liwan, owned by pioneering coffee enthusiasts, is a Saudi chain that cleverly combines Western and Middle Eastern flavors. Developed around Middle Eastern culture, the concept offers caffeinated and decaffeinated cold and hot drinks, as well as sumptuous pastries, delectable sandwiches and traditional drinks from the region, such as Arabic coffee.
Using freshly ground high-quality beans and knowing how to make the perfect cup of coffee are fundamental to success, as coffee is directly linked to emotions. The Middle East has developed a keen passion to elevate coffee exports globally, and in years to come, creative entrepreneurs are expected to push market growth by remaining ahead of the trends.
One thing is for sure; the region is a leading player on the world’s coffee stage, and the spotlight is set to shine on it for years to come.