Specialty Coffee & Tea Convention 2009, the first international specialty coffee and tea event crafted for the Arab World, concluded with over 2,000 trade visitors attending an unprecedented showcase of the latest products, equipment and trends in the specialty coffee and tea industry from more than 50 global exhibitors. On the other hand, the first-ever National UAE Barista Championship, a major highlight of the Convention, produced the UAE's representative to the 2010 World Barista Championship (WBC) in London after Vikram Kashyap outperformed five other baristas in the final round of the competition.
Organised by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and International Conferences and Exhibitions (IC&E), the Convention featured a focused exhibition, a high-profile conference, targeted educational sessions and workshops, and various opportunities for networking, business sourcing and market intelligence. A special conference with the theme “In Pursuit of Sustainable Quality: From Seed to Cup” was also organised, focusing on global trends in coffee and tea consumption, regional investment opportunities and other urgent issues that influence quality, sustainability and corporate responsibility in the coffee trade.
Anselm Godinho, Managing Director, International Conferences & Exhibitions, said, "The overwhelming positive response and the active participation of the trade participants in all networking activities of the Convention underline the growing enthusiasm in the long-term prospects of the specialty coffee and tea segment. We have learned a lot from organising this event and we are looking forward to implementing new ideas and innovations that will further boost the positive impact of the Specialty Coffee & Tea Convention on the industry's growth."
Commenting on the success of the trade event, Stefano Puggioli, Export Manager, Tonino Lamborghini, said: “I would like to compliment the organisers for a spectacular event. It provided me the opportunity to meet interesting people from around the world who share my passion for coffee.”
Vikram Kashyap of Caribou Coffee earned the nod from the international panel of WBC-certified judges to emerge as the inaugural champion of National UAE Barista Championship. Kim Thompson and Raja Muthusamy, both of Raw Coffee Company, took the first and second runner-up spots.
Gwilym Davies, 2009 World Barista Champion, said, “It was an honour to support the Baristas in Dubai and to help show them how important this competition is.”
Earlier, Gwilym Davies joined 2008 World Barista Champion Stephen Morrissey to make a special drink – ‘Aalam Al Barista’ – in honour of the inaugural National UAE Barista Championship and to mark the first edition of the international specialty coffee and tea convention.
Richard Jones, Managing Director, Coffee Planet, added: "As platinum sponsor of the first National UAE Barista Championship, Coffee Planet is delighted with the response to this exhibition and the coverage it has received from the media. There was a fantastic response to our premium locally roasted coffee from current and new customers and we have enjoyed demonstrating the technical skill of our Barista in producing great beverages over the three days of exhibition. The Barista profession in the UAE needs and deserves greater recognition and Coffee Planet is working hard in this regard.”
The National UAE Barista Championship is the only one of its kind in the region accredited by the World Barista Championship, the world's biggest and premier coffee competition. Competitors were required to serve each of the four sensory judges a single espresso, a single cappuccino and a signature beverage of his/her choice (espresso-based and alcohol free) for a total of 12 drinks, during a period of 15 minutes. Participants were judged by four sensory judges, two technical judges and a head judge.
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