So, this is the final part of my series on my fave coffee spots in Dubai and I finish with a bang @typica.uae run by @coffee_limitless (aka Michaela) two times #uaebaristachampion (2018 and just last week 2021) not to mention she got into the semi finals of the recently held @specialtycoffeeassociation #wbc2021 in Milan 👍🏽 Sure, you can be served great #coffee sourced from very special farms across the world 🌍 and I usually opt for a special filter brew but if there’s one drink I’ll recommend, 😌 it’s the champion 🏆 aptly named as the winning drink Michaela served when she won the uae barista trophy in 2018. If you scroll to the second page of this post, one of her barista @hartgomezatienza explains the drink in detail but in short it’s a whirl of flavors in your mouth from pronounced orange to watermelon and a hint of coffee cream, literally a party 💃🏽 in my mouth.
If that’s not enough, as I was about to leave @jason_galinea . told me that they still have some of the beans (Mandela) used by Michaela at the WBC & I was like wow, 😮 I’m away but I pray upon my return Inshallah I’ll taste it before it runs 🏃🏾 out. My only competition are the Dubai based coffee geeks like @sanaveed90 reading this.
Thanks to the team for another wonderful experience. . .
Imagine my surprise when I heard a few weeks back that the famous Barn Berlin, Best Independent Coffee Shop in Europe 2018″ AND “Best Specialty Coffee Roaster in Europe & Middle East 2019″were opening their first international outlet not in another major city in Europe, but all the way in the Middle East, in Dubai. I was on the one hand a bit surprised but I was thinking ….. perhaps when Ralf visited Dubai he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the coffee culture in Dubai and thought “hey! I need to share my coffee philosophy in this city. 🤔”
I never got the time to ask him why but I was honoured that upon their opening in mid October, Ralf was there not just to welcome me and my friends but also to make one of their special coffees on the V60 – lucky me.
Set in a very European setting I have to say, Barn Berlin Dubai is located in Kazzan Park, opposite the glitzy City Walk. Yes, across the road there are lights representing the essence of Dubai but there’s a calming ambience in the park that hosts Barn Berlin Dubai.
The shop itself is quite small – again typical of a quintessence European coffee shop and as you enter on the right you are greeted with the Brew Bar, which houses a La Marzocco 2 group linea espresso machine and a set of Hario V60s at the ready
As you look to your left there’s an open view bakery kitchen, where recipes from Barn Berlin and Ralf’s family bake on site German style pastries and cakes. So what you might miss from the roastery has definitely been made up with a live German bakery kitchen…..
On display across the cafe are bags of coffee “roasted in Berlin” and you have a pick from filter, espresso and highly prized filter based coffee – yes, think Hacidenda Esmeralda from the famed Panamanian coffee estate and Anaberoic fermented Yemeni coffee – yes they may cost a bit more than your average coffee but trust me Dubai’s coffee hunters buy them as soon as they arrive from Berlin.
I’ve already been twice since they opened – first to be served coffee by Ralf and second with my wife, who loved the tea (yes, she doesn’t usually take coffee, but she liked the German style carrot cake).
As the weather gets cooler by Dubai standards (25C is great trust me), it’s a great place to have coffee in the park – there’s a lot more seating in the park and outside the shop than inside. You can sip great roasted coffee, eat German recipe treats and look at the tallest building in the World – now how’s that for the DRINK OF THE ESCAPIST.
I don’t know about you but coffee inspires me. Following my recent stint as a director of a think tank where I was responsible for generating ideas to impact our world, leading a research agenda and launching an infectious diseases index, I’ve been thinking about creating a space ( with coffee of course) where I can empower people to be confident to share their ideas to impact our world.
We can use the concept of the @unitednations sustainable development goals @the.sdgs along themes of health, AI and sustainability to highlight challenges where we invite innovative design thinking principles to solve them. To encourage people to generate and share their ideas, we would need sponsors to fund these ideas, perhaps through a hackaton where the need are selected to be funded. Let me know your thoughts and if you live in Dubai perhaps we can meet too. Alternatively I can launch a weekly or monthly zoom style brainstorming session.
So are you ready to change the world one cup of great coffee at a time? .
Part 2? You may be wondering what was Part 1. Well, part 1 was when I had my coffee shop, ESCAPE CAFFE in Cape Town from September 2010 until February 2012. That’s when I moved my whole family to another part of the world to set yup my ideal coffee shop.
Fast forward ⏩ to 2021 and….
Well, I believe that when you pursue your dreams, God puts people in your life to help you complete the journey.
So, when I first met Shehzeen and MD of @sippybeans, Dubai in October 2020 and she asked how can we collaborate after talking coffee for about one hour, I said “why don’t we release a coffee line together” and she said “why not” 🕺🏽 now, who said dreams don’t come true. 🎉
I recall when I was growing up and how my mum instilled in us the concept of never throwing food away.
Fast forward to 30+ years later and I’m a coffee geek. So when I get to the end of a coffee, do I throw it away or just mix it in with the new?
Hands up for this who guessed right – yes, I still can’t throw food items away, especially coffee – after all when you source great coffee weekly and can’t wait to brew it and enjoy it, how can I be so careless to throw some good beans away – I can’t
So, when I was thinking about the Filter version of my coffee, it was natural for me to think of a Filter Blend. Even the roaster asked me, “but why?” and I was like “why not?” – too scared to tell him my childhood fear, 🤷🏽♂️ Ha! I was also aware that square mile coffee have also recently started a filter blend for filter coffee.
So, here we are, the FILTER BLEND …. coming soon to your fave UAE based coffee platform, SIPPY and my partners and as a homage to Africa, it’s comprised of two special African coffees naturally.
It’s almost here…. The FILTER BLEND of my coffee line in collaboration with @sippybeans . We did the tasting two weeks ago and I presented it at an exclusive event recently.
The blend combines the bold flavours of berries, fruit and medium acidity with an unforgettable aroma that I search for when I prepare coffee daily using @hariov60 ..😋 I can’t wait to share it with you so that you can tell me what you think but it’ll soon be in the market.
Truly exciting I must say this coffee dream of mine. Dream big and be bold 😉
I’m so excited to let you know that on 2 March 2021 I launched my first ESPRESSO BLEND coffee in collaboration with Sippy Beans of Dubai, UAE. I always believe that if you are really passionate about something and try your best to persevere with faith and determination to live your dream, you will experience it in some way. This isn’t my first journey of living my dream as you know, because back in 2009, I moved to Cape Town to open up my first coffee shop, called Escape Caffe, which I eventually sold for multiple personal reasons in early 2013.
So, when in October 2020, upon just moving to Dubai, I met with Shehzeen of Sippy Beans (a Dubai based online coffee retailer) I was asked, after talking about coffee for hours, she asked how we could work together, I dared to say, because I had dreamt about it and wanted to articulate it for REAL, that “can we launch a coffee brand using From Coffee With Love”, she said YES almost immediately. Now, who said that dreams don’t come true.
You may be wondering why I have called the espresso blend the “drink of the escapist”, so check my video here to experience my excitement.
In short, we worked with one of Dubai’s premier coffee roasters and after having tasted about 10 different blends, I knew that just one sip of what would be become my first espresso blend was all I needed. It just hit the spot, it was so unusual for me and I knew it was a bit unconventional, like LOVE of course, something that cannot be easily explained.
As I usually drink my espresso based drinks with milk, you’ll find hints of chocolate, spicy vanilla, with medium/low acidity and a long lasting caramel taste – so you’ll be looking forward to your next cup.
I always believe that you should follow your passion and pursue your dreams with perseverance as you never know who God will place in your path to make that dream a reality.
Thanks to my wife and my kids for believing in me and being patient when I went to cafes and grilled baristas about their coffee preparation. Thanks to Sippy for putting their trust in launching this blend with me. Looking forward to developing the filter blend soon God willing.
You’ve probably heard me many times elaborate about how blessed I am. Blessed to be introduced to the coffee bean by its Creator and I can’t even count how many times I’ve had a wonderful coffee experiences, let alone the amount of times I’ve been given free coffee (there are many reasons for this). And the blessings continue.
So a few weeks ago, or is that months now, one of the baristi (plural for barista in Italian) from Butterworth & Son Coffee Roasters Lauren Small (aka I am the Anxious Barista on Instagram) reached out to me on Instagram and wanted to know if I would like to taste their coffees. Having researched them – yes I do this because I have been offered free coffee before BUT if I don’t think I’m going to have a pleasant experience, I decline – I politely accepted. However, as I had just moved to Dubai, I was concerned that it would cost a lot for them to send me about 1kg of coffee in terms of postage and registered delivery/courier charges but Lauren was insistent, so I succumbed. In any case, after one failed attempt, I decided it was far much easier to have Lauren send it to my brother in London who would then pass it onto our daughter, who would be visiting Dubai in mid-December and voila! just one day before she was due to leave, it arrived…. The things you do for coffee eh! Nevertheless, another blessing.
Not only did I receive coffee from them, they selected a very diverse group of coffee spanning the coffee world, two Africans, one central American and one South American – that sounded strange as I wrote that. Now, off to the coffees.
From reading the taste profile, I knew that this would be good for espresso and it was. I even invited a friend over to share the experience and well what did it taste like….
Chocolate but of course, especially when brewing it as my daily cappuccino. After a few days, you would be pleased to know that it never disappointed and always tasted like chocolate. Now how’s that for consistency and a good way to start the day.
Guatemala Honey Process
This one, I must confess was a bit tricky as I brewed it both as an espresso and as a filter (aeropress and HarioV60). I started off brewing this as an espresso and picked up hints of apricot but the Colombia (above) was so good as an espresso based coffee, that I moved over to brewing this solely as a filter, either on an aeropress or Hario V60, where I picked up hints of winey dried fruits.
Kenya Peaberry Washed
Now, it’s getting exciting. If you know me, you would know that I usually get excited about Kenyan coffees but I should probably add that Lauren, I presume, didn’t know that I love Kenyan coffees. Typically, Kenyan coffees when roasted right and of course brewed right tend to have traditional taste profiles of dark berries and this one obviously had that.
However what stood out for me when brewed this on a Hario V60 was the hints of lime and mint. Now you may be wondering, why Lime and Mint? but before you judge, it was not overpowering at all. It was like after you had the first sip, then there was this delicate flower taste of lime and mint afterwards. As the coffee got older and the days went by, the mint dominated and the lime diminished but nevertheless it was a truly pleasant experience all the way to the last bag… sigh.
I think I’ve saved the best for last. The experience with this coffee was further enhanced by my desire to start using my Chemex, which was given to me by my former colleagues as a leaving present way back in November 2019. I know, why did it take this long to use it ? but that’s another conversation. Prior to using the Chemex for the first time, I asked Lauren for their recipes (yes, each coffee shop has a recipe for how they brew their coffee per method, well serious coffee shops do). In this way, I wanted to ensure that I was brewing not just this coffee but the others too, using their recipe. In fact after this disclosure I have now amended how I brew Hario V60 to 20g with 300ml water.
Okay, so back to the Rwanda and the Chemex, now that could be a good movie title
Using their recipe of 300ml to 20g of coffee and my new Hario scales (thanks to my wife), I really enjoyed the process.
And how about the taste? Okay I may not have picked up strawberries and cream but Plum, medium citrus acidity and hints of buttery caramel were predominant. It was such a pleasant experience that I mainly brewed this coffee on the Chemex, despite its average brewing time of 5-6 minutes. On the Hario V60 and aeropress it was still nice but not as delicious as on the Chemex. In fact Lauren had recommended trying this as an espresso but I couldn’t take the risk of wasting 40-60 grammes of this delectable coffee during the espresso adjustment process, so I just stuck to the safer process of filter brew.
I just checked their website prior to writing this piece and sadly for you they don’t have this coffee anymore. Don’t worry, I empathise with you too as I had my last brew of this coffee early last month.
Just before I finish, kindly note that this is not paid sponsorship and I don’t get any money for bragging about my wonderful tastebud experience.
I’m not sure about the background of Butterworth and Son, who are based in St Edmunds, UK but I know that they do good tea too and from my experience, good coffee as well. I definitely recommend them and you have to love their artwork on there bags too.