Dubai: Emirati duo Sheikh Dr Majid Al Qassimi and entrepreneur Ali Mansoor Al Ali have launched a brand-new home-grown company, People’s Coffee, offering fair-value specialty green and roasted coffee sourced from Yemen, which also comes with a powerful message – to improve the quality of life of farmers.
The new coffee trading company’s operations unit in Haraz, Yemen provides a product offering from some of the sub-region’s top plantations, working closely with farmers to carry their coffee to international markets.
Fuelled by an increase in demand from consumers for organic, ethical coffee production which does not exploit farmers in developing countries, the new range brings the best of authentic Yemeni coffee to the UAE, while raising awareness over its heritage and the human aspect behind every batch of beans.
Headquartered in Dubai, the coffee trading company stands firmly against mass production models, promoting a human-to-human approach to business. With the slogan “Fair Value Coffee Traders”, People’s Coffee has devised a system whereby financial returns are distributed equally across all parts of the supply chain.
By encouraging consumers to direct their attention towards the voices behind the new balance-seeking brand, People’s Coffee aims to achieve its goal of supporting farmers in battling any challenges they may face; these include the effects of a changing climate, low and unpredictable incomes and even a scarcity of food supplies for three to four months a year – a problem which often plagues coffee-growing communities.
With a background in agriculture and having been assigned an advisory role at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Sheikh Dr Al Qassimi drew on his experience throughout his journey to discover what is known as “the world’s first coffee” in Yemen, with origins that date back over 500 years ago.
The complexity of the coffee supply chain lies in the fact that beans pass through the hands of growers, traders, processors, exporters, roasters and retailers until finally reaching the consumer. According to the UK’s Fairtrade, most farmers have little idea of where their coffee goes or what price it ends up selling for.
Focusing on the region’s café-oriented culture, the beverage’s meditative properties and a market which is projected to show significant growth in the UAE until 2026, the Emirati duo aims to tell the story of farmers through different means – including digital platforms and social media.
With less layers between the farmer and consumer, the People’s Coffee range will be made available at accessible pricing. “I do not want to create a gold leaf coffee bean,” says Sheikh Dr Al Qassimi. “Exclusivity is neither going to help the farmers nor their journey. We need the people to be able to access the product so that they can explore the beautiful stories behind it.”
“The idea behind People’s Coffee stems from an increasing consumer interest in the character of the beverage, the story behind it, and distinctive, exquisite high-quality beans,” says Al Ali. “The flagship product will be available at different venues, starting with Dubai’s ever-popular The Climbing Goat Roastery, and later for direct purchase from our company.”
Following the launch, Sheikh Al Qassimi and Al Ali hosted Yemeni farmers in an informal stakeholder meeting through video conferencing at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
Building on the company’s promise to enable them to share their stories with the world and improve their quality of life, the event featured a session where farmers were encouraged to share their journeys and thoughts on what makes their coffee unique, led by Sheikh Dr Al Qassimi.
DMCC, which is driving a major initiative to position Dubai at the heart of the world’s leading coffee supply chains, offers the infrastructure and services for green bean storage, processing, roasting, packing and the delivery of coffee with precise specifications.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DMCC commented on the event, “As a facility that has been designed to provide greater efficiency and transparency for the global coffee industry, we were pleased to welcome the stakeholders of People's Coffee.”