From the coffee queen: 11 Best Cups in #MyDubai

Words cannot espresso, how mean you bean to me ☕?

It’s no secret that Melangé aka Nadia, loves her coffee! She has legit been to over 60 cafes/coffee spots in Dubai! She says “if you were to walk a mile in my shoes you would most definitely end up in a small, cozy coffee shop – Before the latest hotspot in the city for dinner, of course.”

She’s the biggest coffee snob I’ve ever seen! She claims she ain’t the connoisseur but I beg to differ – the more coffee shops she visited, the more I was certain that Melangé HAD TO do a coffee round up for my page 🙂

Although the fast expansion and trend in coffee shops seem to be increasing, there’s a massive drop in quality, so filtering out, is a must! To Nadia, going for a cup of coffee is so much more than just the coffee, it’s a ritual! It’s safe to say, that many hours of Melangé’s week are spent in coffee shops and her love for this beloved liquid magic knows no bounds ❤

She has narrowed down her 11 favorite cups in the city, not for snobbery, but for the appreciation of a good cuppa. The kind of cafes that you want to keep returning to again and again.

{Note: The below list is not in ranking order. Additionally, feel free to click any picture to enlarge}

1. Qahwaty – Mirdif 35 is seriously litt and this coffee shop is a big reason why. A neon sign flashes “life begins after coffee” and a Pinterest-worthy ceiling complete with greenery, bright teal fabric, exposed piping and one of the best Piccolos in town. Using a mix of Windrose and Cafe Rider coffee beans, the latter has a roastery in Dubai (see no. 5), whereas the former is based in Oman. Special shout out to barista Taufik Fadhlan who makes it perfect every time. Not much option for food or pastries on site though, so do keep that in mind.

Location: Mirdiff

2. Stomping Grounds – The perfect space if you’re craving both food and coffee – Basically the kinda place you disappear to with your laptop for the day. Stomping Grounds is home to the Specialty Batch, an in-house roastery that uses a wide variety of beans from different origins that change daily – Costa Rica is a personal favorite and Guatemalan a close second. The scones are freshly baked to order served with the REAL clotted cream & jam, the chia pudding, in Nadias opinion, is the best in town but way too good to be healthy. Scared to ask what’s in it so if you do, don’t tell me! Ignorance is bliss in this situation.

Location: Jumeirah 1

3. Brew Cafe – A hole in the wall, super cozy, with a raw wooden rustic finish. This place is a must visit for me and I always make sure I pop in when it’s on the way to, well, anywhere really. There’s a wide variety of brewing methods available and beans which rotate regularly. Not to mention they use Valhrona chocolate for their mocha and chocolate peanut butter pretzel balls (the latter I highly recommend trying). Also, their signature “Dirty White” is a never-ending obsession. A shot of espresso and steamed milk over ice with a sprinkle of ground coffee. Not many seats to sit on though, but most definitely worth a visit.

Location: Umm Suqeim

4. Chemex Lab – Calligraphy that will give you table envy, a well kemp library, incredible lighting, the perfect cuppa and desserts from different home bakers. One of my favorite new openings this year stocking beans from the Underdog Project based in Greece. I could sit here for hours sans-company. The flat white is exquisite and a few savory options available as well to nibble if you’re feeling peckish. Truly a magical spot, try the Ethiopian, you won’t be disappointed.

Location: Jumeirah 3

5. Cafe Rider – An in-house Roastery, warehouse feels, Rockstars, speedy Wi-Fi, and Motorbikes, you know you’re in for a treat when you walk in here. With a variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing, specialty tea, smoothies, fresh juices, and food served all day, this place has got you covered. The pour over is a personal favorite and the beans are consistently roasted each time I go. With a very unique vibe, this space is worth a visit.

Location: Al Quoz

6. Roseleaf – Probably the coziest of them all, especially that sunroom seating that’s tucked away in the Garden Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road. Roseleaf has teamed up with Nightjar Coffee that roasts its carefully selected beans in Al Quoz. With a large pastry & savory selection, mix n’ matched china and a very interesting stack of books to flip through, it was love at first sight. Try the Mocha, trust me it’s worth it!

Location: Al Quoz

7. Espresso Lab – Tucked away at the back of a wellness centre Espresso lab is exactly that, a team of extremely precise coffee chefs at work and an artisan company to the core. No food or wifi on site so it attracts only the hardcore coffee addicts. The tasting board of coffee called the Fika experience is well worth a try if you’re interested in trying what the latest technology in the specialty coffee industry has to offer. Their future expansion plans include a second location featuring a boutique roastery where caffeine junkies can experience the full framework starting from green coffee beans to the final cup.

Location: Jumeirah 1

8. Gold Box Roastery – First and foremost a roastery with woven fabric coffee sacks stacked high on warehouse shelves with a ping-pong table and a let-the-coffee-do-the-talking kind of community feel. This place is truly special with extremely friendly service. Just tell Dean what you’re looking for and he’s sure to sort you out (P.S. They also barter cups of coffee for baked goods. You know – just in case you’re into that kind of stuff). Training and in-house quality control courses also on offer for newcomers to the coffee industry.

Location: Al Quoz, Barsha

9. Cremolata – An award winning tiny gelato shop at the fishing harbor and the last place you would think of to grab one of the best cups in town! This space is my favorite when the weather’s good, grab a seat by the water and watch the fisherman do their thing. The Coffee concept is called Coffee & Story, using beans of various origins from a private roaster in the UK (always exciting when Guatemala is on rotation).

Location: Umm Suqeim

10. Mokha 1450 – Screams Arabic tradition and hospitality with hand-carved wooden tables and a small plate of dates served with each cup. Home of Ethiopian Geisha and exceptionally rare single origin beans, all 100% Arabic, direct trade, crop to cup service. Mokha being a port in Yemen where the heart of the coffee culture first took place in 1450. Naturally, this space goes back to the source focusing heavily on the twin origins of coffee – Ethiopia and Yemen, to emphasize where all coffee comes from and where coffee begins its journey to drinkers across the globe.

Location: Al Safa

11. Sum of Us – This Aussie style, two-storey, urban, industrial café with exposed ceilings is always buzzing, has its own roastery, a mean acai bowl and some of the best sourdough in town. Really can’t go wrong with all-day dining and good coffee. Home to Encounter Coffee which sources Arabica beans from around the globe – a counterpart of the Bull & Roo Company.  You can choose from almost 20 different house-blends of coffee, but don’t miss the cold drip! A personal fave.

Location: Trade Centre Area

She promises to keep adding to the list as the coffee shop scene expands. In a city where homegrown concepts are not nearly as common as international chains, there’s something very refreshing about exploring the cafes because all of them are brought about by local talent. Some in the most obscure alleyways, inside garden centers, warehouses, gyms, roasteries and even on the first floor of commercial shopping malls. All so different yet special in their own way.

Meet Nadia: Popularly known as Melange Dubai, or a coffee queen or THE ultimate flatlay queen!

She runs a home-based catering company called Mélange and I consider her cakes as one of the bests I’ve ever had (try the chocolate cake with salted caramel filling, you won’t regret it 😉 ). Nadia is not only an amazing chef but a great blogger!

Along with running her home business, she has a special talent of sniffing out any new cafe that’s opening nearby (I get astonished as to how she even knows most of these cafes exist). Check out her Instagram and you’ll know what I mean.

She’s taught me a lot about coffee, especially this fact:

Coffee is actually not bitter! I wondered why I always used to put a sachet of sugar in my coffee as I couldn’t stand the bitterness but when I tried one of the coffee spots recommended by her, I didn’t need sugar at all! Conclusion: if your coffee tastes bitter, the beans are probably burnt.

Hope you guys enjoyed this blog post x

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