Spilling the beans.
Sip by sip, Dubai's café culture has quietly but assuredly carved a niche all its own. Far beyond mere hubs for caffeinated rendezvous, these spaces represent an oasis of taste and aroma, artfully bridging the gap between the traditional and the avant-garde. For the discerning coffee aficionado, Dubai offers a compelling array of choices, from sumptuous Arabian blends to third-wave artisanal brews that showcase the cosmopolitan versatility of the bean.
What if you took today to skip your usual pit-stop at a big-name franchise and acquaint yourself with Dubai’s artisanal coffee scene instead? Savoir Flair has scoured the city in search of the most legitimate java joints for everyone’s favorite beverage — because life happens, and coffee helps.
Claim to fame: The very first Japanese coffee house – by way of Kyoto – to open in the country.
Let’s start with the fact that you can have coffee beans of your choice freshly roasted within eight minutes for you to enjoy at home. If, however, you decide to stay put, the baristas at Arabica will prepare your coffee just the way you like it – be it drip or with the unique Slayer espresso machine, using the roastery’s signature blend or a choice of numerous single-origin beans from around the world. They (all) also happen to be trained in latte art, so your caffeine kick will look as good as it tastes. Win-win.
Multiple locations across Dubai
Air Speciality Coffee
Claim to fame: Because creamy puddings make any coffee experience better.
Leave it to Air Speciality Coffee to prove that not much else is needed when killer coffee (sourced from Panama and Ecuador, no less) and deconstructed puddings collide. The experts at this minimalist hideaway recommend pairing a hot pudding (like ‘Cinnamon Brioche’) with a filter-based coffee (such as ‘Chemex’), and a cold pudding (‘Pistachio Rose’) with an espresso-based beverage — and who are we to argue?
Jumeirah Street, Umm Suqeim
(+971) 4 321 3555
Claim to fame: It’s just so, so, so sleek.
There’s a pool. And a futuristic marble counter that screams Zaha Hadid. And test tubes serving as vases. And a barely-there menu that any coffee enthusiast would respect. Alchemy is about perfecting the art of coffee, sourcing beans from ethical sources, roasting them to perfection, and serving the result in a space that feels like a complete escape from the bustling city outside its walls.
Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah
(+971) 4 344 2466
Claim to fame: Go for the toasties, stay for the coffee.
We dare you to find a decent Dubai-based Instagram account without a photo of Boston Lane in it – or a foodie who has yet to rave about its cheese and garlic toasties. Not only does this all-pink eatery still feel like a hidden gem (it’s tucked away in a picturesque courtyard), but it’s also the perfect place to linger over a long black – or something a little more inventive, like the new ‘Golden Grind’ latte that happens to be vegan.
The Courtyard, Al Quoz
(+971) 58 517 2131
Claim to fame: The use of Valrhona chocolate in its mocha. Enough said.
Brownies, basque cheesecake, cookies, and more – the decadent homemade treats at Brew Café pair beautifully with the organic Peruvian coffee served at this tiny yet charming joint in Jumeirah. Look around and you’ll notice a range of eclectic artwork, mason-jar lighting, and (very limited) rustic seating, all of which only add to its coziness factor.
Jumeira Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2
(+971) 4 331 2333
Claim to fame: Its sheer Instagrammability.
Pair Depresso’s tagline – “That feeling you get when you’ve run out of coffee” – with the fact that every cup can be coupled with an adorable mini donut for only AED8, and you’ve got yourself a winner. While the coffee selection here gets pretty creative (the ‘Cereal Latte’ and ‘PinkChoco’ are both delicious), the açaí soft serve is our latest obsession.
Jumeirah Road, Umm Suqeim
(+971) 50 244 5434
Claim to fame: Award-winning baristas making Dubai’s best Spanish lattes.
It’s often hard to secure a spot at Drop, and for good reason. World-class baristas from across the globe, a minimalist design aesthetic, cookies inspired by Kinder chocolate, and perfectly executed Spanish lattes mean there’s always no shortage of repeat patrons here. We’re partial to the super-smooth ‘Kyoto Slow Drip’ ourselves.
Multiple locations across Dubai.
Claim to fame: Home of the 2018 UAE Aeropress Champion, Earven Marabiles.
Founded by Emirati entrepreneur Mohamed Ali Al Madfai, Emirati Coffee operates a heavy-duty roastery in Al Quoz and an industrial-chic café in Dar Wasl Mall, both beloved for using beans acquired directly from partner farms located in coffee-producing countries such as Costa Rica and Ethiopia. If your coffee standards are high, this one’s for you.
Al Quoz Industrial 3
(+971) 56 888 6034
Claim to fame: Speakeasy vibes and an in-house roastery.
There’s finally a dedicated space at which to caffeinate in Alserkal Avenue and it alternates between a blend or a single-origin lot on a weekly basis, sourcing coffee beans from women’s co-operatives in Burundi, Rwanda, and Colombia. The food menu is both vast and diverse, with wraps and frankies residing alongside savory pancakes and custard pie. Oh, and there’s nitro cold brew on tap.
Alskerkal Avenue, Al Quoz | City Walk, Al Wasl
(+971) 4 330 6635 | (+971) 4 341 2440
Claim to fame: A greenhouse sanctuary complete with single-origin specialty coffee, sweet treats, and leafy surroundings.
While Roseleaf now operates a location in Emirates Golf Club, we’re still partial to the original, nestled in Dubai Garden Centre – for obvious reasons. Homey in feel, décor, and menu offerings (think: scrambled eggs on sourdough toast and pecan tart), the original outpost is the ideal place for an artisanal flat white and a catch-up with friends. Also, carrot cake.
The Garden Concept Store | Emirates Golf Club
(+971) 4 399 1662 | (+971) 4 355 5241
Claim to fame: A congregation point for coffee roasting, barista training, and the sale of specialty beans and related equipment in Al Quoz, Seven Fortunes was inspired by Sufi Baba Budan’s quest for coffee and subsequent pilgrimage to the Middle East in the 16th century.
By now, founder Karim Hassan is well-known amongst coffee aficionados due to his relentless passion for hand-crafted beans from places like Costa Rica and Guatemala. While there isn’t a café here per se, there is a special area where you’ll be more than welcome to do a bit of sampling before you make a purchase.
Al Quoz Industrial 2 | Vision Tower, Business Bay
(+971) 4 338 5587
Claim to fame: Two outdoor terraces, indoor seating, unfinished wood tables, industrial-style accents, and cool California vibes that will make you want to linger.
Another Jumeirah-based café that has done wonders for the coffee-dependent community, Stomping Grounds also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The star attractions, however, are the meticulously selected beans to choose from (Geisha coffee from Panama included) and the baristas who know exactly what to do with them. They’ll even go into specifics to help you choose what’s best for you, asking for your preferences in terms of undertones, aroma, and body.
(+971) 4 344 4451
Surge Coffee Roasters
Claim to fame: A homegrown roastery of artisanal standards.
Not only does Surge Coffee Roasters supply and roast high-quality coffee beans, provide consultations on all things caffeine, and train aspiring baristas, but it also gained a cult following amongst foodies in Dubai — especially for the all-day breakfast options at its outpost in Al Rashidiya. But whether you end up there or at the HQ in Al Quoz, the signature ‘Emirati Blend’ is a must-order.
Al Quoz Industrial 4
(+971) 58 953 5337
The Espresso Lab
Claim to fame: The only specialty coffee spot in Dubai Design District.
Relaxed and contemporary in feel, The Espresso Lab prides itself on doing everything by hand, from baking bread to bagging coffee beans. The menu here caters to those who take their caffeine (very) seriously and is therefore devoid of frivolous beverages. The ‘Gibraltar’ – an almost-sweet espresso enhanced by a velvety foamed milk – comes highly recommended.
Dubai Design District | Al Quoz Logistics Park
(+971) 50 421 1188 | (+971) 55 656 8883
The Sum of Us
Claim to fame: That full-fledged Micro Roastery located within? A sight for sore eyes.
The experts at The Sum of Us have traveled far and wide to find the best Arabica beans, roast profiles, and brewing methods to make for the definitive farm-to-cup coffee experience. Pair one of the café’s single-origin coffees with a decadent eclair or cronut by in-house bakery Rise&Dawn Bakehouse and you’ll see why we will never tire of this place. Promise.
Sheraton Grand Sheikh Zayed Road
(+971) 56 445 7526