I was at Gold Box Coffee Roastery in Dubai

Finally!

Ever since I heard about Gold Box Roastery in 2016, I have been trying effortlessly to visit them. However, the main reason I was unable to visit them in the past 3 years was because although they open for 6 days a week, they are always closed  Fridays and whenever I used to stopover in Dubai for 48 hours, the only full day I had was, Friday. So, on this occasion, as my stopover was from Saturday to Sunday and when asked by my friend where I wanted to go, I naturally said, “let’s try Gold box roastery”.

Situated in Warehouse #7, Building: SMARK 3, Umm Suqeim Rd. East, Near Mall of Emirates Next to Warehouse Gym Al Quoz Industrial Third, the industrial but arty district of Dubai, you could easily miss Gold Box roastery, like we almost did – google maps isn’t always the best for this part of Dubai. Luckily as determined as we were, we found it. As you enter, you could be excused for thinking you’ve walked into a coffee warehouse – right in front of you is a custom made purple La Marzocco GS3 espresso machine – giving the indication that pouring 100s of cups of coffee per day is not their focus. Behind the barista station, also decked out with filter brewing options and a mahl konig grinder, is where the action is, as you can just glimpse the coffee roasters – yes, there’s more than one – this is a coffee roastery. To the left of you, you will see bags and bags of coffee sacks, containing waiting to be roasted green coffee from al over the World, selected carefully by the owner.

The sitting area is small, decked with their theme, purple. Whilst visiting, the customers that stopped by, were regulars, stopping over on their way to somewhere, sitting briefly to drink their “black gold” or buying lots of bags of wholesome coffee to take home.

On the right is an impressive array of coffees on sale with an enticing logo to accompany the delicious coffee beans inside. If you just edge your eyes atop of the coffee bag rows you will see a placard – owner, Barbara Croce awarded as a Q Arabica Grader by the Coffee Quality Institute – now if you don’t know what that it is, here a short explanation

The certification is useful for purchasing coffee, selecting roast profiles and production/processing methods, understanding coffee origins, and more. It allows (them) to communicate objectively about quality throughout the entire coffee supply chain. (source: perfectlydailygrind.com)

In short, Q-graders are like the superheroes of the coffee industry. It allows them, once qualified to detect quality right through the coffee process, enabling them to know how to choose coffee and grade it for its quality, let alone, know how to get the best out of the coffee.a custom made purple La Marzocco GS3 espresso machine – giving the indication that pouring 100s of cups of coffee per day is not their focus. In short, Barbara is really serious about her coffee

But wait, there’s more.

I walk over to a lady and exclaim, finally I have found this place after many years of trying – I noticed that the lady had an air about her, relaxed but confident. To my pleasant surprise it was none other than Barbara herself. Great! first of all we just about find the place and secondly, I get to meet the owner herself.

In fact, to the detriment of my friend, even though he was very polite about it, Barbara and I spend the next 1-2 hours talking about coffee – I learn about there commitment, her vision to make the Dubai roastery world class (her first one is in Newcastle, north England), her family history in coffee, her commitment to understanding coffee by living on an actual farm for a few months, her expansion plans, right opposite their current site, which will become a training school too, the expertise of her staff (one of them Lyndon Recera was UAE barista champion for 3 years in a row until last year – see my previous post on Typica) and much, much more.

It’s only after chatting for a while, that I noticed that I hand’t even had my cup of gold.

I chose a fruity blend as I actually like fruity blends in my milk based coffee. Afterwards, I looked at the impressive display of coffee and was totally spoilt for choice, so of course I ask Barbara to advise me, as I wanted a coffee that would be great for espresso and filter, so I selected the Bolivian Caranavi with tasting notes of fig, dark chocolate and nougat to name a few.

Just before we left, Barbara kindly gave me the invite only to the opening of Typica (previous post), as I presume she had detected a real coffee nerd in me.

Definitely one of my best coffee experiences and looking forward to hearing more from them and their new barista academy.

Read more and order coffee from them on their website https://www.goldboxroastery.com/uae/roastery

Drinking Coffee in Dubai: the coffee roasters edition 


So, I was completing a survey on Dubai a few weeks back and the final question was, “why would you advise anyone to visit Dubai”, So I started “if you love calm beaches, oceans where you can see your feet, stay in hotels with great value for money, eating food from different parts of the World, access to great shopping, a holiday that is great for both kids and parents alike….. and love coffee, then visit Dubai” Wait a minute “coffee”. Yes! It seems like every year I visit Dubai – can’t help it, the kids love it, plus I connect through there a lot – the coffee game has been raised. Before 2010, there was only one specialist roaster, Raw Coffee – read here. Then in 2014 two guys called Tom and Serg opened their Melbourne-esque style cafe with great coffee and world cuisine style menu with a strong focus on breakfast and brunches. Fast forward to 2016 and I couldn’t even visit all the specialist coffee roasters in Dubai alone. Tom and Serg now have 3 cafes (the original Tom&Serg, the sum of us and common grounds) – all featured on my website. In addition, they now roast their own coffee. There’s also Speciality Batch, Espresso Lab, Goldbox, which I couldn’t visit and Seven Fortunes, which I blogged about recently. Okay, so here’s a snapshot;

Speciality Batch/Espresso Lab

If you read my post on ratio’s coffee, Sharjah, you’ll know that I had already heard of Speciality Batch many moons ago. Specialty Batch roast in Dubai, focusing on roasting small batches of only single origin coffees.

Their coffees are favoured strongly by Espresso lab, located at the 100 Wellness centre – a very unassuming place, which I must confess, can easily be missed, as it’s located in a very residential area. Having just visited culinary boutique and being that it was like 40C outside, I popped in for a cold brew. The first thing that you notice is that this a no frills coffee place, manned by male and female baristi that seem very committed to coffee. 


I learnt afterwards that they are also a coffee school offering certified barista training too and that their owner, Ibrahim Al Mallouhi is the only Emirati certified by the American Barista & Coffee School, Barista Guild of America, SCAA and SCAE They don’t even serve any snack to go with your food and the only other drinks on offer are sparkling or still water. They have an innovative coffee menu, offering different type of beans with different brew options, coupled with expert advice on how to brew and of course they sell coffee. For the cold brew I wanted something not overtly fruity and they were served with these steel balls, which apparently have some kind of effect on the cold brew.

 

It looks gorgeous, doesn’t it ?

Speciality Batch are beginning to amass a large retail following, so you may start seeing their coffees at numerous speciality cafes opening up in Dubai now. Check speciality batch here and read more about Espresso Lab’s plans to roast their own coffees and expand here.

Leopolds of London

Located at the very Miami-esque part of Dubai, the Walk, is this newish restaurant – a franchise now only based in the UAE. In fact we just happened to enter this place by chance. As usual I was craving coffee at around 10pm and as we were walking through the Walk, decked out with flashy restaurants, like the Real Madrid Cafe, household retail outlets and of course the traditional coffee brands, I was close to giving up, when I saw a sign outside this facility about coffee. So, we popped in, egged on (English colloquialism for encouraged) by one of the staff. They were so delighted to hear that I loved coffee, that they took me upstairs to show me their roasting facility, surrounded by both green and recently roasted coffee beans. 


Naturally at that time, the roasting facility was shut, but after quizzing them about their focus and spotting their La Marzocco GB5, I decided to order a double espresso to accompany my triple layer red velvet cake. Before I carry on, they really have delectable cakes (carrot cakes, cheesecake, which my wife loved, chocolate fudge cake, etc) and a mouth watering menu here and for Dubai, I must confess, the value for money is great – shhh! keep it a secret.

 

So, it’s never too late for an espresso, even at close to midnight, yummy!. We went back twice and although I didn’t buy any coffee to take home, I’m willing to say, this was the best coffee at the JBR – the Walk. Visit their website.

 

So where else….

Seven Fortunes – affiliated with a company in Canada, these guys are really serious about coffee. I wrote a bit about them on my visit to Culinary Boutique but you can read about them here. A welcome addition to the speciality coffee roasting scene. So impressed was I with my visit to Culinary Boutique that I bough a large bag of espresso beans, which I really enjoyed on my return to Vienna.

 

Fruity and caramel like and great with milk too. Highly recommended and if you live in Dubai, they have an online shop too.

 

Goldbox Roastery – Again, I had heard of this specialist roaster a few months ago through instagram and actually wanted to visit them, but sadly they are closed on weekends. In any case I had the opportunity to taste their coffee when I visited Sharjah in May 2016, but most of the roasters I visited, had a lot of respect for them and recommended that I visit if I get another opportunity.

%arabica, Dubai Mall

This is really fresh news as this cafe just opened in Dubai in mid-September 2016, located at the World’s largest Mall, the Dubai Mall. Decked out with two very expensive Slayer Espresso machines, it;s definitely one to check out when I visit Dubai again insha’allah. For those of you reading this and located in Dubai, go there now and let me know what you think.

Signing off with this pic, so “where’s the good coffee in this place Dubai?” Well, there are too many man.