For coffee-lovers the latest event at Katara has seen the popular beverage highlighted at Qatar’s first international coffee expo. “My Coffee, My Identity” celebrates all things caffeine and has been organised under the patronage of H.E Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The exhibition recognises the increased interest in regional markets for gourmet coffee, with Qatar’s own market share sharply increased over the past 10 years.
The coffee expo is open everyday from 10.00am until 10.00pm from 3rd March until 7th March. It is located at Katara Esplanade Gates 18-21. This five day event hosts coffee retailers as well as representatives of several Embassies. The coffee and beverage culture of many countries is being highlighted from Kenya and Argentinia, to others that are not as widely known for their coffee production such as Vietnam and Thailand.
Katara Cultural Village is a fantasic venue for free high-quality cultural events, and this exhibition is no diffferent. There are coffee tasting events, international coffee competitions, and live entertainment provided by the Embassies. Visitors to the event are also able to sample many coffees for free, whilst there are also coffees and products available to purchase. There are also a wide range of coffee distributors, retailers and traders highlighting their services.
The event was organised by Art & Art in collaboration with Qatar Heritage and Identity Centre (QHIC), which was established by H.H Sheikha Moza in order to preserve and revive authentic Qatari heritage and cultural identity. Visitors are encouraged to visit QHIC’s traditional bedouin-style tent to try deliciously hot Qatari karak served the authentic way.
The opening ceremony on Thursday evening highlighted the importance of coffee to world cultures, commerce and societal development across the ages. There was a host of entertainments including traditional dance performances from participating countries, whilst a community Majlis was presented by Qatar Living. Therewas also an interesting art gallery which provides facts and information about coffee, whilst coffee seminars over the weekend highlighted the art of tasting coffee.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf company provided a free 45 minute workshop on the ‘Art of Coffee Appreciation’ which provided visitors with an appreciation for gourmet coffee and a deeper understanding of the importance of origins and production to the taste of the coffee. They also led a 20 minute coffee seminar on the journey of coffee fruit, from the moment it is picked to being milled and dried in the factory until it comes to the roaster to develop a perfect cup of coffee. The brand continues to open new cafes in Doha with two more branches opening soon on The Pearl-Qatar.
International Coffee Expo Doha 2016
ICE Doha organisers indicated that “by the year 2020, the emerging coffee markets, many of which are located in GCC, are due to reach 50% of the global consumption of coffee” – as such there is great opportunity in coffee production and exhibition.
Here are some more interesting facts about coffee that you can learn when visiting the coffee expo as per ICE Doha:
- Over 1.6 billion cups of coffee are drunk every year.
- The story of coffee originates in the 1400s. There are many contradicting stories as to how it was discovered, but they all go back to a goat!
- The word comes from the Arabic ‘Qawha’ and was turned into ‘Kahve’ by the Turks, to later be termed ‘Koffie’ by the Dutch.
- Qatar’s coffee industry has seen a growth from instant-mix coffees towards an increased appreciation for gourmet coffee and speciality beans.
- Coffee is the second most traded commodity after oil!
Coffee Barista Competition
A three part Coffee Barista Competition will be held over the duration of the expo (4th-6th March 2016), with three rounds of competition. Participating baristas must prepare one espresso, one cappuccino, and one cocktail drink (they will bring their own special ingredients or toppings for the cocktail drink).
Winners will participate in a final round on 6th March with winners revealed at 9.00pm. The final winner will win a trip to Italy as well as advanced Barista training.
Doha Coffee Expo Exhibitors:
The Coffee Expo had many new (and soon to open) coffee brands and cafes showcasing their beverage products, with many handing out free samples to visitors. New F&B brands included Coffee Planet, Crunch Cantina, and Deyma, whilst the Al Majed Group showcased ‘Bo’s Coffee’ (coffee grown in the Phillipines) and ‘Bubbles & Boa’ (bubble tea).
It was also lovely to see the Cafe Station trolley which we are sure to see more of in the future at Qatar’s major events and festivals. There was also a photo booth service from where visitors could pose and have their picture taken for QR10 to QR25.
The highlight of the festival were the many Embassies showcasing the coffee cultures of their countries, with some interesting exhibitions from the Embassy of Ethiopia, Egypt and Turkey.
The Embassy of Indonesia however stole the show, with their guest Asian civet animal that provided an interesting aspect to their booth. They were highlighting the ‘Kopi Luwak’ version of coffee processing which produces one of the world’s most expensive coffees. If you are squeamish don’t watch the below video!
— Qatar Eating (@qatareating) 3 March 2016
Other Coffee Exhibitors included:
- Opera Café
- Fwala Coffeeshop
- Café Station
- Kufiyeh Coffee
- Jones the Grocer
- Baba Chapatea
- Attibassi Coffee
- Darwish Trading Co
- Bubbles & Boa
- Bo’s Coffee
- Snog Frozen Yoghurt
- Crunch Cantina
- Coffee Planet
- Rzeez Coffee & Dates
- The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
- Torino Lamborgini
- Poori & Karak
- Embassy of Brazil
- Embassy of Costa Rica
- Embassy of El Salvador
- Embassy of Egypt
- Embassy of Ethiopia
- Embassy of Iran
- Embassy of Kenya
- Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
- Embassy of Thailand
- Embassy of Turkey – Yunus Emre Institute
- Embassy of Vietnam
Pic Credit: QE and ICE Doha