Drinking coffee is integral to Arabic traditions of hospitality, and there is no better place to discover this than at the Coffee Museum in Dubai’s Al Fahidi Historical District. The museum, the largest of its kind in the Middle East, is the brainchild of ‘coffee’nista’ (is there such a word?) Khalid Al Mulla, of coffee company Eastern Men and Co.
We find the Dubai Coffee Museum tucked away in one of the narrow streets off an open courtyard – look for the cart laden with sacks of coffee beans. Entering through a small door, the aroma of fresh coffee assaults our senses and our eyes are drawn up to the assortment of coffee bags hanging on the wooden balustrade of the two-tier majilis.
The adjoining rooms are home to an intriguing collection of artefacts, from old brewing pots from Yemen and coffee grinders from the First World War, to an 18th century book about coffee from Germany and much more in between.
We are invited to try Turkish (or was it Egyptian?) coffee made in an impressive looking metal structure that uses a bed of hot sand in its preparation… as well as Ethiopian coffee, traditional Bedouin coffee and aromatic Arabic coffee.
Each room has a different theme, and many of the exhibits have explanatory information… we read awhile, but the aroma of coffee draws us up to the coffee bar on the upper level.