One thing I love about Dubai is that it never fails to deliver on experiences. Now, I’m very aware that there’s a lot of media, some good and some suspect about Dubai but a city dating centuries with over 4.5m residents is a lot more diverse than the glitz and glam of what the media wants to portray.
So, off we went to the Al Fahidi district in old Dubai and yes, there is such a thing – it’s the place where it all started -where old building were built to capture cool air, where abrar (water taxis) transported people across the creek to trade in spices, cloths, carpets, gold, pearls and more – and where the old shops/merchants that built Dubai and foreign embassies are housed too.
In fact, I’d heard about the Coffee Museum for years but never ventured there and I must confess stumbled across it when my family and I were discovering the old city a few weeks back – we initially found it on a Friday but it was closed – so never visit on a Friday. That day, we went to another famous old city hub, the Arabian Tea House, just a minute away – another must go for traditional Emirate/Lebanese food and of course tea and Emirati style coffee (qahwa in Arabic).
Still craving that experience and when asked what should we do today… I replied, “let’s got to the coffee museum, which is also close to some shops for you babe (my wife)”. So, off we went last Sunday but we got there a bit late, just after 4pm – they close at 5pm.
Opening in 2014, the owner and purveyor of the Coffee Museum, Khalid al Mulla, had been collecting coffee related trinkets for years and decided to open up what is now the largest coffee museum in the Middle East – there are only 16 in the World. We paid an entry fee of AED10 (just over $3), which included complimentary qahwa (arabic coffee) with dates and another cup of coffee made the Ethiopian way using the Jebba. The museum is housed in a traditional Emirati home with low ceilings and narrow walkways, so mind your head as you enter.
Split into many rooms across two floors, housing international antiques (mostly from Germany ), coffee origins room, middle east antiques, a literature room, a majlis (traditional Emirati room for drinking coffee and talking), as well as a kids corner and media room, you will have time to satisfy your curiosity. In short, the rooms host anything from old coffee grinding machines, dating centuries to the first ever roasting devices as well as beans and posters too. Luckily for us, we met Kay, whom I had met at an event promoting the UAE Aeropress championship, gave us a personal tour.
For speciality coffee, head upstairs to their mini shop, which houses a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine and of course filter brewing options. I couldn’t help myself and went for two options, a cortado
and a filter coffee using THREE Coffee (Dubai based roaster) Colombian filter beans prepared by Kay.
As we were walking down we saw this…
The Victoria Arduino Venus – yes it looks very plush but the great thing about this machine is that although it looks very antique from the outside, inside is a modern take on espresso machinery. This was their espresso machine before they recently introduced the Black Eagle.
As a tribute to all the coffee growing countries in the World they have these flags but they now have to add more (Nigeria grows coffee too).
All in all, a wonderful experience, which I highly recommend when you visit Dubai. Sure, you’ll want to visit the tallest building in the World , Burj Khalifa and the largest shopping mall, Dubai Mall but take time out to visit the old district, which houses traditional souks (that’s why my wife likes coming here… LOL), the Seef district with quaint hotels/restaurants and a murder mystery hunt, the museum of illusions, the Arabian Tea House, old
style mosques and of course the coffee museum. After all, after all that walking and eating you’d want to finish off with some good coffee right?
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