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Brand Dubai celebrates Dubai’s coffee culture at Amsterdam Coffee Festival

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), showcased the best of Dubai’s coffee sector at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival that took place from 1-3 March in the Dutch capital.
The ‘Brand Dubai Hub’ at the Festival, which featured winners of the Dubai Loves Coffee competition – Nightjar, PDL Coffee, Farmers, The Espresso Lab, Home Bakery and AlChemy – offered Festival visitors an experience of the crème-de-la-crème of Dubai’s speciality coffee scene.

The celebration of coffee attracted considerable interest from Festival visitors.


Nehal Badri, Director of Brand Dubai said:

“The Amsterdam Coffee Festival was an opportunity to tell the story of the unique innovation and creativity shaping Dubai’s speciality coffee landscape. Our participation in the Festival was part of Brand Dubai’s efforts to showcase diverse strands of Dubai’s vibrant entrepreneurial culture as part of our ‘Proudly from Dubai’ initiative. Through Brand Dubai’s platform at the Festival, winners of the Dubai Loves Coffee competition had an opportunity to forge new partnerships and relationships with the global coffee industry. We look forward to organising many such initiatives in the future.”

Launched in December 2018, the ‘Dubai Loves Coffee’ contest invited the Dubai community to taste coffee from 23 participating speciality coffee shops and vote for their favourite outlets in three categories. More than 7,000 coffee lovers participated in the voting. The winners won a spot at the 2019 Amsterdam Coffee Festival.

The “Brand Dubai Hub’ at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival featured talks, panel discussions and coffee competitions. A panel discussion moderated by Ayesha bin Kalli, Senior Executive, Culture Diplomacy, Brand Dubai, focused on the UAE’s coffee industry.

Winners of the ‘Dubai Loves Coffee’ contest also shared their entrepreneurial experiences and perspectives on industry trends both in Dubai and the wider region. Two of the winners, Espresso Lab and Farmers, delivered individual talks on the topics of ‘Specialty Coffee – My Journey in the UAE’ and ‘Blending Health with Speciality Coffee’ respectively.

Ayesha bin Kalli said:

“Participating in the Amsterdam Coffee Festival with Dubai’s best speciality coffee outlets helped us raise awareness of the vibrancy and verve of Dubai’s coffee culture. The response from the Festival’s audience was in many ways overwhelming. We were able to give the visitors at the Festival an authentic experience of the unique combination of local experiences and global connections that describes Dubai’s coffee culture. The entrepreneurial spirit and creative dynamism of Dubai’s speciality coffee shops stood out at the Festival.”

Winners of the Dubai Loves Coffee competition expressed their gratitude to Brand Dubai for the opportunity to participate in the Festival. Ibrahim Al Mallouhi, owner of Espresso Lab said: “It was a great initiative from Brand Dubai to sponsor the winning teams to participate in the Amsterdam Coffee Festival. This reflects the support that we have from our government as part of the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Visitors to the Festival were keenly interested in interacting and engaging with us. I wanted to tell them the story of our hard work and efforts to follow our passion and make our dreams come true.”

Faisal Al Marri and Faisal Al Ahli, co-owners of Farmers Coffee, said:

“It was a real pleasure to attend the Amsterdam Coffee Festival along with other Dubai-based specialty coffee outlets as ambassadors of Dubai’s coffee scene. We were honoured to interact with some of the pioneers in this field and discuss mutual opportunities. We believe that everyone who attended this festival under the umbrella of Dubai Loves Coffee gained more knowledge, made good connections and discovered innovative solutions. We’re grateful for this exciting venture and congratulate the Government of Dubai Media Office and Brand Dubai for this innovative and valuable project.”

Abdulla Al Mulla, Managing Director of Home Bakery said: “We benefited significantly from the media and brand exposure we received in Amsterdam and back home in Dubai. A lot of the exhibitors and other visitors were surprised at the quality of coffee we served at the Brand Dubai Hub. It made us proud to know that Dubai is always striving to be the best in all fields including in coffee. One of the things we have learned from our leadership is to always be ahead of the game. On a personal level, I was able to interact with a different demographic of business owners and consumers. I was also able to gain a deeper understanding of different taste palettes that will help me better understand consumers in Dubai since it’s an international city with more than 200 nationalities. Knowing that entities like Brand Dubai want us to strive for the best helps us entrepreneurs to always work harder.”

Fred Owino, General Manager of AlChemy said:

“It was truly an amazing experience to talk about Dubai’s coffee culture to an international audience. It was also amazing to make coffee and put smiles on people’s faces. Talking about Dubai, sharing our coffee stories and sharing our knowledge was truly an experience to remember. Through this festival, I was able to connect with different coffee roasters, green coffee buyers, machine distributors, and coffee cups and bags manufacturers to mention a few. Participating in this festival enabled us to market AlChemy to different businesses and build strong relationships. The Festival also helped us to connect with and work together as a team with different speciality coffee shops in Dubai.”

Essa Al Marzoogi, Co-Owner of PDL Coffee Co said:

“Participating in the Amsterdam Coffee Festival and the Dubai Loves Coffee competition has given PDL Coffee Co significant international exposure. Since the start of the competition we have noticed new faces in the shop that has led to more revenue. The trip to the Festival was fantastic as it gave us many opportunities to share experiences with other start-up coffee shops. Our participation gave us a platform to engage with audiences in both the UAE and Amsterdam and tell the story of our coffee culture to the international community. We received many enquiries about branching out to Amsterdam as well since our cycling-based concept can appeal to people in the Dutch capital, especially since it is the cycling capital of the world.”

Leon Surynt, Co-founder and General Manager of Nightjar, said:

“Dubai is becoming an example of cutting edge coffee innovation on the global stage. The companies that participated in the Amsterdam Coffee Festival under the Brand Dubai umbrella are the best example of the creativity and innovation in Dubai’s coffee scene. Some of these companies are also fine examples of internationally competitive retailers. We were able to engage with many specialty coffee retailers at the Festival who expressed interest in receiving exports from Dubai. Brand Dubai should be proud of the stand design and execution and its mission to showcase the UAE on the global stage.”
The ‘Brand Dubai Hub’ at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival featured a variety of activities including coffee tasting and brewing, apart from live art. Attendees at the Festival were offered a taste of the winning signature drinks of the ‘Dubai Loves Coffee’ contest.
UAE artist Ghanim Mubarak sketched portraits on coffee cups for visitors to the Festival while Emirati artist Hessa Al Awadhi’s digital sketch, which highlights the UAE’s rich coffee heritage, was displayed at the ‘Brand Dubai Hub’.