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In an alley in between rows of old depots, a warehouse stands out as the raw caffeine destination of the UAE. With its custom-built roastery, Raw Roastery in Al Quoz 1 is where coffee fanatics head to, except it's nothing like a typical café.
There was a lot of buzz and excitement among the staff when I first dropped in. I was told a huge shipment of Ethiopian coffee beans was to arrive that night and my visit turned out to be an opportunity to learn more about coffee and its ubiquitous culture. Raw Roastery offers a barista training course as well.
Although I have tried raw coffee in other cafés and popups, it was the first time I had a cup in its place of production. As Karthik, one of the shop's passionate crew, delicately poured coffee into my paper cup, he also educated me — kindly enough — on the perfect brew. Intrigued and eager to learn more, I knew I had to come back.
The space is interesting. It has clearly evolved organically, and with no branded furniture in sight, Raw Roastery hardly resembles a typical coffee franchise. Stacks of jute bags containing coffee beans lie about, while a few scribbles decorate the walls. A strong aroma wafts across the shop. Upstairs, there's a casual sitting area where hand-painted used jute bags hang on the railing and huge sofas covered with cushions made out of coffee bags invite you to sit.
While sipping a brew, guests can also enjoy a good read from several books neatly arranged on steel bookshelves. This could have been some artist's or poet's den, but it works just as well as a casual funky venue for a serious conversation.
Raw Roastery has an espresso bar and a brew bar equipped with siphons, V60s, Cemex and Aeropress to prepare 100 per cent Arabica, a single-origin coffee. But the shop takes greater pride in its roasting room and 18kg coffee roaster.
The Raw Coffee Company was established with a mission to find premium green beans, which are ethically sourced and organically certified and roasted by origin from around the world. It started off in July 2007, seeking to fill a gap in the market for freshly roasted speciality coffee.
The company intends to educate consumers about the brew and offers consultancy services to those who want to set up coffee-related businesses. Founders Kim Thompson and Matt Toogood also revealed plans of establishing a boutique café in Jumeirah. The company supplies to more than 30 coffee shops in the UAE.
Completely in awe, as I walked out of the coffee haven on to the dusty roads of Al Qouz, I contemplated returning to help with the 100 bags of Ethiopian coffee beans that were about to arrive that night. An adventure for another time perhaps.
Raw Roastery is located in Al Quoz 1, Warehouse 10. It is open daily from 8am-5pm.
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Source: Ishita B. Saha, Special to Property Weekly