UAE-based Raw Coffee is launching the UAE chapter of the Speciality Coffee Association in Europe (SCAE) at Gulfood 2014.
Speaking to Caterer Middle East from the show floor, Raw Coffee co-founder Matt Toogood, who has also previously won the title of UAE Barista of the Year, said: “What we are doing is highlighting the programmes that are available through the Speciality Coffee Association and we’re forming a chapter in the UAE. There are already about 15 companies that have joined up.”
With the UAE chapter, barista education will be pushed, said Toogood. Companies can enroll their baristas with the local arm and enable them to go through a formal education process.
Toogood added: “What’s really interesting is that we’ve got all the different companies all around the UAE, who are competitors but we work together because it’s all about the love of coffee.”
He said the UAE chapter of the Speciality Coffee Association has a long-term aim. Toogood revealed: “We have got a three year goal to get baristas recognised as a specialty profession in the UAE. Just like you’d have a chef or a mixologist, we want the same for baristas.”
He continued: “Coffee is not just coffee, and a barista is not a coffee maker. A barista is someone who understands and loves all the aspects of coffee – an artist, a technician.”
Toogood pointed out an issue he hopes to correct with the launch of the UAE coffee chapter. He explained: “Unfortunately what happens is people are allocated jobs in the UAE. Whereas where we’re from, in New Zealand, Australia and Europe, people strive to be a barista. We want to bring that culture to this region.”
Raw Coffee will be at Gulfood for the next five days at the new feature of the show: Barista Bonanza.At the show, Raw barista will be creating five different coffees using six or seven different methods, to showcase the full ability of different ways to make a good brew.
Toogood added: “So we’re really showing the full range of coffee brewing and we’re roasting as well.”