Romeo Perello from EuroCoffee LLC and Emmanuel Katongole, from Easternmen & Co. were crowned UAE Barista 2012 champion and UAE Latte Art 2012 champion, respectively, with the former scheduled to represent the UAE in the 2013 World Barista Championships to be held in Melbourne, Australia in May. The 4th National UAE Barista Championship and the inaugural UAE Latte Art Championship served as among the main highlights of the recently concluded International Coffee & Tea Festival, the only dedicated trade event for the coffee and tea industry in the Arab world.
This year’s edition of the UAE National Championships attracted participants from all over the UAE with 20 candidates making it all the way to the championship rounds.
Ryan Godinho, National Coordinator for UAE World Coffee Events, said: “We continue to witness higher levels of expertise in the barista profession in the UAE, as was made clear during the recent national championships. The UAE Barista Championship has certainly been a key factor in raising the bar of excellence by stimulating creativity, innovation and professionalism in the industry over the past four years. Moreover, the successful debut of the UAE Latte Art Championship this year underlines our commitment to further extend and intensify the quality of the competition, reinforcing its status as one of the key attractions of the International Coffee & Tea Festival. Romeo Perello and Emmanuel Katongole have demonstrated great skill and technique this year completely living up to the coveted titles that they have secured.”
IC&E is licensed by World Coffee Events, the premier producer of events for the coffee community worldwide, to conduct all National Level Coffee Championships, including the UAE Barista Championships and the UAE Latte Art Championship.
Emmanuel Katongole represents Easternmen & Co., whose Director, Mr. Khalid Al Mulla commented, “Although this is our first time exhibiting at the International Coffee & Tea Festival, the show quenched our thirst for all that drives buyer behavior. Over the 4 days of the show, we were able to identify fantastic leads not just in terms of sourcing business but also ideas on product innovations. The customer feedback and exposure we got this year was overwhelming. This reinstates our trust and confidence in trade shows of this stature. Such a one-to-one customer interaction is very hard to come by through other marketing channels.”
The International Coffee & Tea Festival attracted over 80 exhibitors and nearly 8,000 visitors during its four-day run. Aside from the UAE Latte Art Championship, other new additions to this annual festival were the “The Café Exchange”, which is the show’s inaugural B2C component, the TasteTEA Zone and Espresso + Brew Bar. The festival also featured the region’s only internationally-
Commenting on the success of the International Coffee & Tea Festival, Alain Indria, Founder and Creator of Ginger Love, said: “Indeed we loved the International Coffee and Tea Festival! We have never had such success in a fair, and we regularly participate in fairs in Europe. We had a lot of requests from distributors from all over the Middle East, and from a lot of new direct customers from coffee chains and local coffee shop owners.”
Mr. Rohan Kapadia, Strategy & Business Development official from Luwaq Specialty Coffees, concurred, stating: “The International Coffee & Tea Festival is an ideal launchpad for coffee companies to enter the Middle East market. It’s only when key industry players come together to showcase on a single platform does the industry as a whole gets put into perspective. The exhibition was industry-focused and helped us connect with the UAE market. We learnt that there’s a huge untapped market out there which we need to go after, in terms of promoting our products.”