A while back I interviewed Ralf Rüller, founder of The Barn Berlin. He had just opened his first shop outside Berlin here in Dubai. It was an exciting opportunity for me since Ralf had been one of my coffee heroes for a while now. It was a great conversation. He had some great lessons to share from his experience in the business. I recommend you give it a read.
It was during that chat, though, that I asked him who he admired here in the UAE. Without hesitation he mentioned the name Nooran Albannay. Since then, whenever I mention her name to anyone else, their face lights up. She is loved, admired and respected.
I had to meet her too.
And I finally did. Here’s our conversation.
So, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Nooran Albannay, from the UAE and I was born in Ras Alkaimah.
Tell us about Coffee Architecture.
Coffee Architecture is situated in Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi. We opened in 2018. It is my dream. It has always been my passion to serve my guests a great cup of happiness /coffee and today I am working as a barista in my own coffee place with my team.
As leader I need to take care of my team and build the growth mindset as one key value in Coffee Architecture. We serve our best each day and create a great environment and experience to our guests and adding values to them so they can’t forget us. We want that when they enter Coffee Architecture they leave with great energy to serve their own community!
What is your earliest coffee memory?
My grandmother serving Arabic Gahwa to all our family and friends. She gave her best with generosity. I remember, when I was in school, the early morning aroma of Arabic gahwa with cardamom and saffron! Omg I can’t forget those moments (God bless her)! She passed away 2016 but her soul is always with me.
What is your opinion on the future of specialty coffee in the UAE?
It is growing. Today I see a lot of young people want to learn about specialty coffee, not just open a coffee shop.
I am the first Emirati female barista in this field. And I am so proud to see that ladies want to become a barista and serve coffee to their people, family and friends with more confidence and boldness.
I am also the first Emirati competing in the National Barista Championship which, I think, inspired other young local Emirati to do the same. Alhamdullah we are seeing a lot of champions from the UAE representing the UAE worldwide in coffee industry.
That makes me so happy and satisfied. Alhamdullah.
How do you spend your private time?
Gathering with my family and friends. Have some alone time to create and listen to myself and evaluate myself. Read and do exercises like walking, running, tennis or going to the gym. Exercise is a must each day.
Anything new happening in Coffee Architecture?
Yes, we have just opened our own roastery called Section Coffee Roaster. It is micro roastery in which we roast for Coffee Architecture and other cafes who believe in us and our values. The roastery highlights women in farms and empowers them to share their stories in the coffee we serve.
You’ll find Coffee Architecture at Turquoise building no .9, Soul Beach, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Alsaadiyat, Abu Dhabi.
Leave a comment to let us know if you have any other questions for Nooran. And, while you’re at it, let us know who we should feature next.
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