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A recent Kava & Chai consumer survey revealed that 42% of respondents enjoyed an average of two cups of coffee per day. However, despite high consumption rates, most coffee lovers do not understand the true meaning of 'specialty' coffee. Around 55% of survey respondents understood specialty coffee as being made with fancy flavours or elaborate gadgets – but it is much more than that.

Specialty coffee begins on the farm, where the Arabica bean is cultivated by farmers who have honed their skills over many generations to produce the highest-grade coffee. The best quality beans are grown in select altitudes and climates and expertly nursed for years before the first harvest. When ripe, the beans are picked and undergo the delicate process of roasting – and this is where the science comes in! The roasted bean retains its quality and flavour by applying the scientific principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics, and coffee chemistry.

Post-roasting, licensed coffee cuppers (Q-graders) evaluate the coffees based on the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) practices. Through these 'cupping' sessions, these experts consider and compare the coffee's flavour, aroma and look.

To be awarded 'specialty' coffee status, the beans need to be graded over 80% by the Q-grader. By the time it reaches your cup, it has already undergone several quality checks and controls. Interestingly, only 18% of those taking part in the coffee survey connected high-quality Arabica coffee and specialty coffee.

The survey was conducted by UAE homegrown coffee and tea house Kava & Chai. Kava & Chai welcomes customers to enjoy its selection of locally roasted specialty coffee and premium teas in its main outlets in Mall of the Emirates, the University of Sharjah and Medcare Hospital Sharjah. While the survey indicates that not everyone understands the terminology behind coffee, it shows that the UAE remains a region of coffee lovers. Kava & Chai continues to inspire and delight with specialty coffee that showcases the best of the Middle East.