Saudi Arabia hosted the world’s largest gathering of coffee and chocolate enthusiasts at the recently concluded 2nd Middle East Coffee Conference, held in conjunction with the 6th International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition.
More than 90,000 attended the twin events, which featured talks from leading coffee experts, including Darrin Paul Daniel, executive director of Cup of Excellence and Alliance for Coffee Excellence, as keynote speaker on the future growth of the industry, sustainability challenges as well as innovations and trends in production, consumption and marketing coffee products and related businesses.
The conference also featured the Middle East Coffee Awards, a one-of-its-kind awards to recognize excellence, success and innovation in the coffee industry in the region. Global giant Starbuck won the “Fastest Growing International Brand in the Middle East” award while “The Roasting House” was named the “Fastest Growing Local Brand in KSA.” Seven Coffee received the “Fastest Growing KSA Coffee Startup” award.
During the exhibition, the Saudi Barista Championship was held and proclaimed Ahmed Baha as the champion. He will represent the Kingdom at the World Barista Championship.
The global gathering of coffee experts in Saudi Arabia augurs well for the Kingdom, which continues to strengthen its position as the fastest growing coffee market in the Middle East, with a 9.6 percent annual growth rate.
“Because of the Kingdom’s thriving coffee business, the Middle East Coffee Conference and the International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition were both huge successes, hosting more visitors than in previous editions,” said Suman Shenoy, communications director of Heights, organizers of the events.
The event will have smaller versions that will take place in Jeddah and Alkhobar in February and March, respectively.