The Dubai International Coffee & Tea Festival 2018 is back again this year at the World Trade Center from 5-7 December. I haven’t been able to make it to the festival for the last 2 years. I broke the 2-year no-show with my friend Neeba (@ibsdiva). We visited around 5 PM and it wasn’t too busy. A moderate crowd for a Thursday in the U.A.E. The registration process involves a payment of Aed 10 and filling out a form. The job specific questions would seem unnecessary for visitors with no commercial interest in the industry.
We walked by numerous stalls with a clear coffee majority. Here is a walkthrough of the tea stalls that were up.
Cafe Society was our first stop. Their line had a good selection of blends which take into consideration plant-based preferences like my friend who follows a strict lactose-free, vegan, diet. They had an array of samplers on display like the taro frappe tea and the matcha latte. The latte was too sweet for my liking but had a nice flavor. Meringues were also up for grabs in flavors like mint and chocolate and vanilla.
Kava & Chai
Kava & Chai is a brand new up and coming coffee house with its outlets in Sharjah, Al Seef and very soon in the Mall of the Emirates. The coffee house has a range of choice with both coffee and tea. At the festival samplers for chamomile and lemongrass tea (we couldn’t get a hint of lemongrass) and earl grey tea were available. The menu on their website has some nice blends like the matcha latte, matte yerba tea, and most interestingly ‘steampunk tea’.
“To modernize tea brewing, create consistency and make tea shop employees’ jobs easier, Alpha Dominche, a design and technology firm in Brooklyn, New York, offers up the innovative, sleek-looking Steampunk tea brewer. What makes the Steampunk unique, says Alpha Dominche CEO Thomas Perez, is it gives operators full control of the brewing process and the ability to replicate recipes. Settings for the amount of water, water temperature, brewing time and the number of times a tea is steeped can all be saved—and saved to the cloud so they can be shared among teahouses.” – excerpt from https://worldteanews.com
This brand of tea comprises mainly of various grades of Keemun black tea. Keemun is a region in China where the conditions of the soil, water, and air affect the quality and taste of the tea produced. A range of Chunmee green tea is also provided with its origin in the Huangshan region.
Namastea is a tea venture by friends Victoria and Veronika. With bright and colorful packaging the branding is visually appealing. The range of tea with its origin in Sri Lanka focusses on health and holistic living creating a link between tea drinking and yoga.
The range of tea is divided into three categories: ‘Health’ (predominantly green tea blends), ‘Relaxation’ (blends with calming ingredients like chamomile and earl grey), and ‘Harmony’ (floral black tea blends).
We Be Expo (Matcha expo) – Japan
We Be Expo’s stall celebrated organic matcha, green tea, and black tea blends from various tea producers in the Shizuoka region at the foothills of Mount Fuji. Miss Nozomi Fujimori was dressed in traditional attire and with a warm smile guided us through the various products on display.
They had a selection of matcha delicacies like green tea chocolate (with brown rice as an ingredient), soybean and matcha pops (with a crunchy texture), wasabi chestnuts, and a red bean paste with a jelly base.
Matcha flavor combinations were a first for me. The aroma of fresh lemon and a nice citrusy flavor but masking the flavor of matcha with the matcha lemon. Matcha coffee smelled of a strong shot of coffee but tasted sweet capturing the slightly bitter notes of matcha. Other matcha blends were with apple and chestnuts.
At the stall were cold brews of black and green tea which were steeped for 1-2 hours. The green tea flavor was strong with an astringency to it ending on a sweet note.
The festival this year as a tea drinker wasn’t too exciting for me due to the low number of tea exhibitors. Our last stop was at We Be Expo. Miss Nozomi’s positive energy and warm personality made for a good end to an otherwise disappointing experience.