x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The perfect roast: in the Raw

Food guru Boutique roasteries like Dubai's Raw Coffee Company are leading the backlash against the global coffee corporations.

Kim Thompson, the managing director of Raw Coffee, says beans should be treated as fresh food.
Kim Thompson, the managing director of Raw Coffee, says beans should be treated as fresh food.

Boutique roasteries like Dubai's Raw Coffee Company are leading the backlash against the global coffee corporations. Raw's co-creator Kim Thompson tells James Brennan about her beans, her passion and how to make the perfect cup of coffee.

The rich aroma of freshly roasted coffee is out of this world. Not much can compare to it. The trick is to capture all of the complexities and flavours the aroma suggests and get those essential oils into the cup. Whether it's a coffee in the morning to get you going, an excuse to socialise or relax, or a digestive, real freshly roasted coffee is a superb gift from nature and hard to beat.

My husband and I have lived in Dubai for 10 years, and we really missed being able to buy a good freshly roasted coffee. It's common in New Zealand and Australia to find a small roastery boutique business with an espresso bar that becomes your local. It's something we talked about for years and finally decided to give it a try.

Coffee beans that are 100 per cent fair trade, 100 per cent organic and proudly 100 per cent Dubai roasted. We roast these green beans by hand, then combine them to create different blends. We have named the blends after clothing - Tailored (espresso), Working (cafe blend), Casual (restaurant blend) and 4 Retail (retail blend). We also supply beautiful Italian espresso equipment for commercial and domestic use. We have everything you need that is coffee related.

The Working blend, which we designed for cafe use. It has a rich flavour with fruity, spicy notes coming through and a hint of chocolate.

The green beans come from premium growers in Africa, South America and South East Asia and are all purchased through fair trade. We only use the best quality raw ingredients to obtain the maximum flavour from each origin.

It is an ethical choice that we feel very strongly about. Coffee is the second largest commodity traded after oil. While you might pay Dh10-20 for a cup of coffee at the retail end, the growers remain some of the poorest farmers in the world, with the price of their crop dictated by the New York stock exchange and the larger companies. By purchasing our beans from a fair trade broker, we know that the grower has received a fair price for his product. Plus, as a boutique roastery, we are guaranteed the quality of the product we buy. Fair trade is a way out of the poverty trap for the growers and it supports their communities with premiums, education and security.

Berts Cafe at the Marina and the Greens is now preparing our Raw coffee. And Verre by Gordon Ramsay at the Hilton Dubai Creek is also purchasing our coffee. We are on the lookout for our own retail location for a Raw roastery and espresso bar. We offer free delivery to businesses and local residents who order by emailing us at @email:admin@rawcoffee.ae.

The most important piece of equipment is a good quality grinder. Coffee beans should be treated as a fresh food product, not one that sits on a shelf for months. They should be stored in an airtight container inside a cupboard (not the fridge or freezer). The beans must be freshly ground just prior to preparing the drink, as they oxidise within five minutes. Use filtered fresh or bottled water. If using an espresso machine, use 7-10g of freshly ground coffee, running the shot through for approximately 24 seconds and generating 25ml of espresso. If you use a plunger or percolator, it is really to taste, but, again, the most important thing is to grind the beans just prior to brewing. The milk should be fresh. Coffee shouldn't taste bitter or burnt and it should never need syrups or concoctions to taste good.

Raw Coffee Company, 04 885 0877.
jbrennan@thenational.ae