Tauland Hyka, Beverage Category Manager at Chef Middle East said, “We have recently introduced a premium Italian brand of coffee, Mikah, that offers a great solution for coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants, with a versatile selection of blends in beans, including capsules as well and powdered decaffeinated coffee. Coffee consumption has grown widely in the Middle East region lately, and according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), Saudi Arabian coffee imports increased by 42.8% between 2008 and 2018, while Turkey saw a 192.8% growth, and the United Arab Emirates, witnessed an incredible 249% increase. And the growth continues with the trend of so many small cafes opening with their home roasting solutions. Considering this fantastic growth, there are some very interesting trends going around such as cold brew and nitro coffee; one of the greatest being cold coffee with the rise of the coffee mocktails. We have witnessed tremendous growth within the coffee industry during the last decade, and we expect the same for 2022, especially with the launch of Expo 2020, and the years beyond.”
Massimo Hakim, founder, and CEO at Mikah, said, “Mikah offers a one-stop solution for baristas. This includes a wide range of premium coffees, from the classic Mikah blends to specialty coffees in single origin, certified coffee, and organic coffee. Coffee is a sophisticated product that requires continuous research and training along with professionalism and knowledge. Mikah’s culture has always been focusing on maintaining a high-quality standard for products and services, and we continuously invest in resources to guarantee professional training and quality control ensuring to maintain Mikah’s reputation as a trusted brand.”
To complement their beverage offering for the coffeeshop solution, Chef Middle East also launched the Rude Health and Catcher Gourmet brands and product ranges, the perfect selection to aspire and inspire beverage professionals to experiment with new flavours and create more unique signature drinks. Non-dairy alternatives to milk have seen a huge rise in popularity with the general rise in plant-based diets, but for health reasons as well, and this demand is significantly increasing.
Romy Brackel, Senior International Account Manager at Rude Health said, “We’re on a mission: to make the healthy choice a celebration, not a sacrifice. The demand for dairy-free drinks is growing year on year, and Rude Health will keep on innovating drinks at a fast pace. At Rude Health, we don’t believe in compromises. Our dairy-free drinks are the best alternatives to milk. Dairy-free, flavour-, and quality-full. They are carefully crafted, using the highest quality, sustainably sourced, and most natural ingredients. That’s why they make the best tasting experiences.”
NelsonKho, Managing Director at Catcher Gourmet, added, “Catcher Gourmet is a brand that specialises in professional beverage ingredients for baristas that develop cafes, restaurants, and hotels’ beverages since 2009. It is a brand that originates from Malaysia and mainly focuses on the development of coffee and tea recipes. Today, Catcher Gourmet is available in Asia and the GCC in over 20 countries with professional teams and partners to serve the customers in the region. The core products in Catcher Gourmet are mainly focused on Sauces and Premix powders ranges. We never follow the trend, but we create the trend. Thus, you will always have products that you will not find elsewhere. Matcha sauces and Earl Grey sauces are the perfect examples.”
But Chef Middle East insists that the Coffeeshop experience can only be complete with the best selection of delicacies from its Pastry & Bakery category. Pooja Bhatt, Pastry & Bakery Category Manager at Chef Middle East, explained, “We operate with different foodservice channels and aim at having solutions for each one of them. Coffee shops are becoming lifestyle spaces where people genuinely enjoy spending time, whether it is weekday while working, or over the weekend relaxing. We observe that coffee shops are expected to cater to all kinds of needs, and our category has built its range accordingly. For instance, we looked at revamping our breakfast offering by onboarding St. Michel into our portfolio, a brand providing high-quality madeleine from France, using noble ingredients and delicious fillings such as palm oil-free hazelnut spread, raspberry jams, honey and cereals, triple chocolate, citrus, etc. Serving something other than a croissant with coffee is becoming important and a great differentiator. There are also some must-have such as having a good acai bowl or smoothie on the menu– for that, we have launched Byou Acai brand from Brazil, an organic manufacturer working with cooperative and proposing a puree with the highest concentration of acai in the world, as well as a sorbet with no beetroot-based sugar. We always stay as close as possible to the market needs to be able to bring in additions to our portfolio that consistently meet our customers’ demands.”
“For example, really nice croissants with loads of flaky layers, layering is super important,” Bhatt added. “The market is focusing on high-quality products and going away from generic ones. Even shapes of croissants are important, like a cube for instance. Our brand of additive-free flour, Les Moulins Viron, is witnessing great success, as it is fully natural and driving phenomenal results. More and more customers are asking to be trained and start using our range. Choux paste is a big component right now such as profiteroles, Paris Brest filled with pastry creams, and dipped in a hard crunchy glaze, Arabic-inspired flavours. Avocado toast is massive and present in every single menu, so for that, we developed a range of ultra-premium artisan loaves, as most of the coffee shops don’t have space to accommodate a fully functional bakery, hence require frozen partly baked breads of high quality.”
The sharing of knowledge and skills is critical to the specialty coffee industry, with local expertise and involvement being key in connecting the passionate professionals within the community. As such, Chef Middle East has announced its first Barista Battle 2021 competition, calling all talented baristas in town to get their creativity sparkle, explore new coffee flavour pairings, and present their awesome coffee-making skills.