Break the chains: Great coffee outside of Starbucks

XO Coffee Boutique. (Supplied)
Updated 05 February 2019
0

Break the chains: Great coffee outside of Starbucks

DUBAI: Whether you like it hot, cold, black, white, dairy-free, foam-free, with extra whipped cream, or any of the other combinations on offer, there’s nothing like a great cup of coffee to set you up for the day. Dubai has witnessed a surge in superb homegrown café concepts in recent times, set up by local java aficionados-turned-entrepreneurs. So the next time you’re out and about in the emirate, give the big-name chains a miss, and get your caffeine fix from one of these local artisanal spots.

Qahwaty
Mirdif 35, 60C Street
From the café itself to the creations within it, Qahwaty is a work of art. Tucked away in a small shopping center in Mirdif, the concept was founded by a trio of Saudi partners, led by founder Ahmad Bakheet. This small coffeehouse, which launched in 2016, sources its beans from local roasters, including Seven Fortunes and Cypher.
Our tip: Order something a little out of the ordinary — the Insta-pic alone is worth it.
Open Sunday to Wednesday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday 8 a.m. to midnight.

Home Bakery
The Galleria, Al Wasl Road
Okay, we’ll get to the coffee in a minute, but if you’ve never been to Home Bakery before, then the first thing you need to do is purchase one (or, say, five) of their Chewy Melt cookies — the finest in the world. (As self-confessed cookie monsters, we take our gooey, chocolatey bakes seriously, and don’t make these kinds of claims lightly.)
Founded by Emirati sister-brother duo Hind and Abdulla Al-Mulla in 2014, Home Bakery specializes in homemade-style desserts and specialty coffee, with beans sourced from Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia. The Spanish Latte is a winner.
Open daily, 7 a.m. to midnight.

Emirati Coffee Co
One Third Dubai, Dar Wasl Mall
For Mohamed Ali Al-Madfai, coffee is more than just a venture; it’s part of his heritage. The co-founder and CEO of Emirati Coffee Co. has a keen eye for sourcing the best beans, trading directly with 82 coffee-producing countries — a skill he no doubt picked up from his grandfather, who used to trade coffee in the 1930s.
Al-Madfai first launched a roastery in 2017, followed by a coffee shop in 2018. It’s said to be the first local brand to control the full supply chain — from farm to cup — ensuring sources are ethical and sustainable.
Open weekdays 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

Farmers Coffee
Wadi Al Amardhi Street, Al Khawaneej
One look at Farmers Coffee’s Instagram account (@farmers.coffee), and you’ll want one of their clever creations, pronto. Dubbed a “third-wave coffee shop” by its Emirati founders Faisal Ibrahim Ahil and Faisal Salem Al-Marri, Farmers launched in May last year, and has fast cemented itself as one of the places to be seen out and about in Dubai. The ‘coffeepreneurs’ support regional suppliers, sourcing their beans from Saudi’s Camel Step Coffee Roasters, whose beans are fair-trade.
Open weekdays 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight on Thursdays), and 8.30 a.m. to midnight on Fridays, and to 11p.m. on Saturdays.

Nostalgia
API 1000, Building C, Al Safa
Nostalgia is the brainchild of Maitha Bin Byat, an Emirati who wanted to set up a concept built around “a philosophy of creating experiences for the community around a curated offering of specialty coffee, hand-painted chocolates and pastries.” Nostalgia opened in 2017, and its baristas include two champions: the 2018 champion of the Brewer’s Cup, and the 2016 winner of Latte Art.
Open Sunday to Wednesday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

XO Coffee Boutique
Al Amardi Street, Al Khawaneej
XO’s Instagram account (@xocoffee.ae) is a must-follow for any coffee lover, and the taste is just as good the visuals. Emirati founder Mohammed Al-Zaabi — who named the coffee bar after his favorite childhood game (aka tic-tac-toe) — wanted to create an open space that, much like playing board games, encourages conversation between barista and coffee drinker. XO Coffee Boutique serves three brands of specialty beans: Barcelona’s Nomad, Cupping Room from Hong Kong, and World Roasting Champion Gardelli from Italy.
Open weekdays 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (to 1 a.m. on Thursdays), and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends.

 


Where We Are Going Today: JD Lounge

Updated 15 February 2019
0

Where We Are Going Today: JD Lounge

  • t is highly recommended for anyone who is in Jeddah, especially if they feel like a fancy dinner

JD Lounge is a relaxing restaurant and cafe that offers a distinctive, sophisticated ambiance. What first drew me to it, however, is its fun reading corner, as I often struggle to find spots where I can read in peace without the distracting hum of other people’s conversations.
The venue is simple but elegant, with a French-style interior that is both modern and classy, with obvious attention to detail and a lovely music selection. It is highly recommended for anyone who is in Jeddah, especially if they feel like a fancy dinner that will delight the palate and leave you feeling fully satisfied, as it serves generous portions of delicious food.
I was particularly delighted to discover JD Lounge serves rose lattes as I have been wanting to try one for a long time. It was worth the wait. The beautifully arranged pink concoction was served topped with edible rose petals and rose powder. The aesthetic of the drink and the rich, mixed aroma of coffee and rose took my breath away before I had tasted a drop — and then when I had my first sip, it was better than I had dreamed, with the rose flavor sweet but not overwhelming.
JD Lounge can be found in northern Obhur, across from King Abdullah Medical City.