Coffee lovers rejoice! If you missed the World of Coffee event that took place in Dubai, we've got you covered. This follow up article will highlight all the best bits from the coffee extravaganza. From demonstrations to tastings, there was something for everyone at this event. So sit back, relax and enjoy learning about everything about coffee!
A bit of background about World of Coffee Events
Festivals and trade fairs are crucial for promoting specialty coffee and valuing the work of all actors in its value chain. One of these events is World of Coffee. Exhibitors from more than 80 countries meet at the World of Coffee events every year. They are aimed at both amateurs and fans of specialty coffee and professionals in the sector.
At the World of Coffee, the best new products from the exhibiting companies are awarded prizes and ranked according to their quality and value for the specialty coffee and tea industry. Various events take place, like Speciality Coffee Association workshops, professional meetings, specialty coffee tastings, competitions, coffee industry meetings etc.
Coffee world championships are usually the highlight of such events and include the World Latte Art Championship, the World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship and the World Cup Tasters Championship, the World Barista Championship and the World Brewers Cup.
World of Coffee travels to Dubai
Last month, the World of Coffee event took place in Dubai and like many, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, caffeine is a drug that's been around for centuries – so what could possibly make this coffee celebration so special? Well, trust me when I say that I witnessed firsthand the changes that are taking place in our beloved industry.
From the 12-14th of January I had the pleasure of hanging out with thousands of passionate coffee people at this year's World Coffee Events (WCE) during the Dubai 2020. And it has to be said – what an event! I'd like to start by saying how impressed I was by the sheer scale of this year's show. It felt like every time I turned around there was another exhibition booth, coffee bar or stage that was being squeezed into the massive halls of the Dubai Exhibition Center.
The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) is considered to be the fastest-growing coffee market on a global level since 2015. The World of Coffee has long been considered one of the greatest coffee trade shows, so the decision to hold it in Dubai is without a doubt an important milestone for the MENA region.
I'm used to attending coffee events where it seems like my colleagues are separated by a few meters, yet this event had a strong sense of community, with hundreds of exhibitors and coffee professionals from all walks of life coming together to share knowledge.
There really was something for everyone at this year's show, from live demonstrations on how to brew the perfect cup of coffee right through to exhibitions showcasing cutting-edge brewing techniques and leading edge design in espresso machines.
It's not just all about espresso though – there were seminars on pour-over, cold brew and cascara brewing techniques. Also featured was the United Arab Emirates’ National Ibrik competition where baristas were required to prepare coffee using an ibrik before presenting their beverage to a panel of judges.
Another competition that took place was the National Cup Tasters, where competitors are relying on their sensory skills to identify the origin of different coffees by slurping them with the help of a cupping spoon. Definitely a fun one to watch!
Two of the top three in the UAE Cezve/Ibrik Championship
During the event, attendees had the chance to participate in various seminars, lectures and workshops. I personally attended the lecture “Sensory Science Applied on Roasting & Sensory Education” which was very insightful on the role of sensory and scientific data in identifying best practices when roasting coffee.
It wasn't just the seminars and workshops that made this event so interesting though – what caught my attention was the size of some of these coffee companies… talk about a sign of the times! Without a doubt, I met more large-scale commercial roasters at World Coffee Events than I have done at any other coffee show. The likes of La Marzocco and La Cimbali were there, with the former having their own DJ at their booth!
There was also an exhibition by Storm which showed off their new espresso machines – that have become world barista championships official espresso machine sponsors 2022-2025!
It wasn't all about large-scale coffee companies at the show, however – there were also some smaller, more boutique exhibitors with some interesting brew methods on display. My personal favorite was Brewvie by Coffee Champs, a Korena company that was showing off its Syphon and Grinder Airmill.
As for other products that impressed me, there were some incredible new pieces of kit on display at World Coffee Events – from a few state-of-the-art cold brew machines to a wide range of impressive coffee-based tonics and sodas!
It's fair to say that I got a little carried away with this year's show. It definitely gave me an excellent opportunity to network with some really interesting people from all walks of life – everyone from start-up coffee companies to some of the biggest brands in our industry.
In fact, if I had to pick my favorite part of this year's World Coffee Events it would have to be the Coffee Planet’s coffee corner – a place full of people from all walks who were genuinely interested in sharing knowledge and learning from one another.
It was really refreshing to speak with brand managers, baristas and individuals who shared their thoughts on the industry – well done to the UAE Speciality Coffee Association members for making this happen! As I mentioned earlier, there was so much happening at the show that it's hard to cover everything in one article.
The World of Coffee event was a great opportunity to see the latest trends in coffee and network with industry professionals. I left Dubai feeling inspired and excited to put some of these new ideas into practice. A big thank you to everyone who made this trip possible!