Nearly 19 Million Australians drink coffee. That’s 75% of the entire population. Of those, 28% have three or more cups of coffee daily. Aussies spend 3 billion dollars on their coffee every year. The average Australian consumes 14 cups of coffee every week. 95% of coffee shops in Australia are independently owned and managed. Australia is the fourth most popular country for takeaway coffee, after Japan, the United States and Canada. Around 35% of households in Australia now have a personal espresso machine.
The stats speak for themselves. Australia loves coffee.
It’s no surprise then that when the former hot chocolate & karak drinker, Zainab AlMousawi, moved to Melbourne to study a dual degree in psychology and digital media and a masters in counselling and social work, she was drawn to the popular drink. And when she returned home 10 years later, she knew she had to open To The Moon & Back.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Zainab AlMousawi. I was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.
Tell us more about To The Moon & Back.
To the Moon and Back was established at the end of 2018, which makes it 3.5 years old.
I have always been dreaming about having my own business as I am not a big fan of working in an office job. I worked as a barista while pursuing my Bachelors in Melbourne, Australia in 2008 and that was the first step of my business in the coffee world without even knowing/planning it.
I believe what makes TTMB unique, is first it is a community-based space. We have a huge base of regulars – actually they constitute the majority of our clientele and we could not be happier! As you are sipping your coffee, you would see people greeting each other across tables often, as almost everyone knows or have met each other at TTMB or through a mutual friend. It is also a comfortable space for solos as much as for a couple or a group of people.
The staff also are a great unique asset at TTMB. They are all friendly, genuine and fun and obviously passionate about coffee and not just doing it as a paying job.
Lastly, perhaps me being very passionate about TTMB and coffee, also having been involved in the industry from scratch myself makes me more involved and hands on to what the customers need.
What is your earliest coffee memory?
My earliest memory has to be that time, when I first tried coffee ever in my life at the age of 19 in Melbourne. It was an instant love story. The taste of coffee, the texture of milk. I had unlocked a new flavor that my palate grew an addiction to from that moment on.
What is your opinion on the future of specialty coffee in the UAE?
I believe the specialty coffee in the UAE is going to continue to grow, however not in the manner that it is right now – the massive spike in number of specialty coffee cafes. It would rather be of a quality and experience. Dubai especially has proven during pandemic times to be a great hub for the coffee community by successfully hosting the World of coffee even at EXPO2020, which is going to continue to host for the next few years.
How do you spend your private time?
That’s a hard question, but I’ll try to answer it the best I can. I am a person of multiple hobbies and interests, so I often spend my time doing different things.
Cycling is one of my favourites activities, which I do more of during Autumn/Winter time in the UAE as the weather is gentler then since I go outdoors. I also travel a lot as I love learning about different countries, cultures and try different food and obviously coffee around the world. I love films and music, so there won’t be a day that would pass by without listening to music and watching a new film. I enjoy cooking/baking and trying new recipes and techniques. I also socialize with my friends, mostly at ttmb or we would go and discover a new restaurant/cafe in town!
What does the future hold for TTMB?
There is always something to look forward to at TTMB. Even though we are not thinking about expanding it to a new branch/location, but we always make sure to have interesting events/collaborations/popups with different coffee suppliers and chefs from around town or even from other countries!
Have you been to TTMB? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.