The DMCC Coffee Centre and Tea Centre process raw material from all over the world.
A group of media delegates were greeted by a captivating range of sensory experiences at the ‘DMCC Coffee Centre’ recently.The nutty and smoky aroma pervaded the air, creating a truly heavenly ambiance.
Greeting the members of the media was none other than Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and CEO of DMCC, who led the journalists to the state-of-the -art-facility explaining how the humble coffee beans journey from being crops to filling cups.
The centre that was inaugurated in November 2018 in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) offers cost-effective logistical support and services that connect producers to buyers.
The 7,500 sqm facility that was projected to handle up to 20,000 tons of coffee beans annually with a trade value of up to $100 million has set its sights on expansion now, aiming to further enhance its capabilities and outreach.
“We have some champions from the coffee industry who have changed the landscape. We also brought the real Yemeni specialty coffee to the Gulf for the first time. We support each other and we’re growing. We are looking to expand this facility and in due time we might even establish a 300-kilo roaster. We just want to time it properly with the right business that will utilize it properly. I don’t want to bring it ahead of its time,”
He underlines Dubai is uniquely positioned to serve the significant emerging markets trade corridor of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, and well connected to the coffee-producing regions of Africa, China, India, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Considering this strategic advantage, Sulayem opines that the launch of a DMCC brand is not currently on the agenda.
“I don’t want to launch any new brand and don’t want to compete with them (our clients). I’d rather they did that. It’s tempting but I am happy to say, ‘roasted by our Coffee Centre’ but not brand it ourselves,”
During the facility tour, journalists were granted access to the core services offered at the venue, which encompassed various stages of coffee processing. These services included logistics support, a green coffee cleaning process, roasting procedures, packaging, as well as a glimpse into the temperature-controlled coffee storage facility.
Impressively, the facility has the capacity to roast over 200 kg of coffee per hour, highlighting its efficient production capabilities. Moreover, the centre provides a wide range of packaging options, with 22 different formats available to cater to specific needs and preferences.
Saeed Alsuwaidi, Director of Agri Commodities, DMCC says,
“We don’t create any brands, but we do everything in the value chain. That means we start from green beans coming in. We have traders from the green beans from all over the world who come and trade coffee here. Then some of them sell it to other places in the world. So, due to our geographical location, it’s very easy for coffee (beans) to come here.”
“We do re-bagging of green coffee. Green beans mean coffee before it’s processed into roasted coffee. This is a big part of what we do. Our (three) warehouses can take over 600 containers worth of coffee.”
Starting with the input hopper, beans are seen being removed from bags and placed in the bin. As soon as the beans fall in, a vacuum suck away all the dust and loose particles.
Alsuwaidi highlights the purpose is to remove anything that could harm the quality of the roasted bean or the roaster itself.
“Roasted coffee comes in a lot of formats. In supermarkets one can see coffee beans or ground coffee. We cover the majority of this except the instant coffee. Most of the coffee that’s consumed is a blend of a lot of coffees and this is done here. So, we have a lot of brands from around the world that come here and use our services. Our coffee today goes to more than 50 countries as the end product. You have brands from around the world. They come here, use our facilities and then that coffee travels around the globe.”
Sweet, cherry and chocolate notes
The UAE is the number one importer of Ethiopian coffee, with the majority of coffee subsequently exported without undergoing processing.
“We have a lot of coffee coming from Africa and Asia and they can go everywhere in the world from here. It comes here as a station for re-export for the next destination. One of most expensive coffees auctioned was over 400 dollars per pound of green coffee, from Ethiopia. It came from the LeBuna farm. The company that bought it was a DMCC registered company and they took it to China to roast it. The UAE consumes the Ethiopian coffees the most. But the Kawa that is consumed here is made with a South American variety. It’s Arabica coffee. Robusta and Arabica are the two major varieties of coffee beans that we have here, but Liberica and Excelsa are also available,”
Meanwhile, the Centre also houses a Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Premier Training Campus, in addition to a range of commercial office space.
400 million tea bags annually
Located adjacent to the DMCC Coffee Centre is the Tea Centre, a facility of almost 24,000 sqm supporting the entire value chain in the tea industry that includes storage, tasting, blending and packaging.
As the tea industry solidifies its position as a major player in the global market, boasting a valuation of nearly $50 billion, expectations of remarkable growth rates of over 40 per cent in the next decade come as no surprise.
In this dynamic landscape, the DMCC Tea Centre stands out with its ability to handle operations with exceptional speed and efficiency.
We learnt that the DMCC Tea Centre has the capacity and services to receive a container, unpack, blend then repackage and prepare to export, within just 24 hours.
Various types of tea, including black tea, green tea, herbal tea, and specialty blends, are its forte. These teas may be packaged in different forms, such as loose-leaf tea, tea bags, or ready-to-drink formats.
“The tea centre recently celebrated its 17th birthday. A lot of it comes here from the original countries where there are tea plantations. We do over 70 brands of tea that get processed and are prepared as tea bags and loose tea. It’s blended or repacked as well to go outside of the UAE. We make over 400 million tea bags every year. Last year we had over 450 million tea bags produced here that are consumed and enjoyed around the world. We do not have a (in house) brand, but we go around the whole value chain of tea where companies come and use our services where they deem fit.”
Additionally, tea blending is also done here to create unique flavour profiles by combining different teas and ingredients to cater to specific tastes and preferences.
“There are different infusions and varieties of tea. One of the most exclusive teas is the Darjeeling Tea. It has a unique taste and distinctive flavor to it. Prices of some of the most exclusive tea in the UAE markets can range up to $100 for just 100g of tea. The prices can go even higher and there are places in the country that sell such unique products. In the GCC the most sought-after tea is the Ceylon tea (not the brand) that comes from Sri Lanka.”
News Source: Khaleej Times