Hidden Gem - A boon for coffee lovers

Hidden Gem - A boon for coffee loversThe menu is catered from places that Boon supplies to / Image Credit: Boon Coffee

With many boutique cafes offering specialty coffee, there is choice aplenty for coffee connoisseurs. But did you know that while the popular Arabica coffee originated in Ethiopia, and Ethiopian coffee is regarded highly in the coffee industry, so far all Ethiopian coffee in Dubai came mostly from America and Australia but not directly from Ethiopia? Not until Orit Mohammed set up Boon Coffee, a boutique Ethiopian coffee company.

I first met Orit two years back at the Farmers Market, organised by Baker and Spice, an event that supports local home grown brands with ethical inclinations. Although she started sourcing and importing Ethiopian bean in 2008, initially giving it to other roasters to prepare it for her, she soon realised there was a market for Ethiopian coffee in Dubai and set up Boon Coffee with its own roastery in Dubai Investment Park.

Orit says, ''Ethiopian coffee is one of the most premium coffees in the world, but that wasn't being projected here. It will be incorrect to assume that I have grown up with some kind of background in speciality coffee like most people do in Ethiopia. I have three children and I thought I'll start something that I can handle and I'm passionate about. And that is how Boon was born.

''My big break, however, came from Dubai Eye when they had a contest called the Big Break and my dream of having my own roastery became a reality. I took roasting classes in Dubai and roasted everything myself in the first year and a half, choosing my own coffee and I creating all the different blends.''

Expanding beyond the roastery, Boon Coffee today has its own little coffee shop in a hidden corner in Jumeirah Lake Towers. The same building houses her office and it just made sense to open a café along with it so that it not only gives her clients a taste of the coffee beans that Boon roasts but also a chance to sip into the prized coffee.

So what's so special about Ethiopian coffee? Orit passionately explains, ''Apart from the fact that I come from Harar, a region in Ethiopia which grows premium coffee, Ethiopia has over five thousand types of coffee that have been classified.

''It is still the only country that produces the wild coffee. Twenty million people live off coffee farming and coffee has become part of the culture and tradition of the country. I actually fell in love with coffee when I moved to America. Funnily enough, when I saw the name of Harar in Starbucks, I was so excited. It might sound silly but it meant such a lot to me — almost like a validation. So, it was easy for me to decide what I wanted to do.''

Talking of Dubai, she says, ''Dubai is such a cosmopolitan city with so many different taste palates. What works in Ethiopia doesn't necessarily work here or what works in Europe doesn't work here. I had to study all of these aspects and learn. However, what distinguishes us in the market is that we hand pick each bean and fortunately all the restaurants that we supply to accept different blends.''

Boon has a very extensive client list — starting from Baker and Spice, La Serre Bistro and Boulangerie in Vida Downtown, Galeries Lafayette, Bestro, the Cycle Cafe and a host of other places. The fact that there is a growing demand for Boon Coffee today is because more and more premium restaurants are looking for a different taste in the coffee that they serve.

Interestingly, the menu in the JLT café, although small, is catered from some of the places that Boon supplies to. While Baker and Spice provides freshly baked goodies like muffins and croissants, La Serre provides the sandwich — on a daily basis. So the next time you are around the JLT area, do hop into Boon for some delicious blueberry muffins or Chef Izu Ani's tuna tartar sandwich, powered by premium Ethiopian coffee!

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Source: Ishita B. Saha, Special to Property WeeklyPW

The author is the founder of Foodmagdxb.com and the author of ishitaunblogged.com

This section features lesser-known places and events that are delightfully distinct in their own way. It could be a quaint little café or simply a charming lake. If it's got character and brings a smile to your face, it's a hidden gem that will find a place on this page. If you know of a hidden gem, email the Editor at: enag@gulfnews.com

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