Defining the Top 5 specialty coffeeshops in Dubai is a difficult task. Not because there aren’t enough to choose from. Quite the opposite – there are too many. It’s difficult to choose because different shops excel at different things. It really just depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for some of the best specialty coffee in the world, you’ll find it here. If you’re looking for some of the best interior design in the world, you’ll find it here. If you’ve ever dreamt of a place where you can have really, really good coffee while admiring sportscars parked only a few meters away, you’ll find it here. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.
The specialty coffee industry in Dubai is flourishing, driven by a growing appreciation by locals and expats alike for high-quality coffee and unique coffee experiences. Local coffee roasters, skilled baristas, and innovative coffee shops have played a pivotal role in shaping this industry and elevating Dubai’s coffee culture. As the demand for exceptional brews continues to rise, Dubai remains an exciting destination for coffee lovers seeking to savor the artistry and flavors of specialty coffee.
At the time of writing this, I have lived and worked in Dubai for four years. And I’m still amazed by the amount of choice on offer. And how that choice is expanding on, what seems like, a daily basis.
If you’re looking for a complete picture of what is happening here in specialty coffee, these are the 5 shops to visit.
For the highest quality specialty coffee available in the world
To be fair, there are many establishments serving high quality specialty coffee in Dubai. But The Espresso Lab excels at making that their singular focus. Expect rare microlots. Cup of Excellence winners. The Dubai Design District location is always packed with a very loyal, local customer base. If you have time though, visit the roastery. It’s out of the way and the only reason to head to that area. But it’s really worth it to see where the magic actually happens.
For coffeeshop interior design inspiration
The interior design of Orijins takes its inspiration from the beautiful imperfections found in nature – in particular, a collection of water-smoothed stones picked up from the shores of the Red Sea. The beauty of the space, designed by VSHD, lies in the texture and materials, the sparse decoration, the muted plaster and opaque creamy hues that remind of natural elements like sand, shells, stone, and wood. A dramatic curved ceiling and the seven uneven marble blocks that form the coffee bar lend a weathered quality to the 105-square-metre space. Orijins has been featured in many of the world’s leading interior design publications for good reason.
To satisfy your craving for cars and coffee
Flat12 Café is one of Dubai’s most unusual venues. And, in that sense, the most Dubai venue of them all. It’s a coffee house, a bistro, an art gallery and a showcase for a rotating collection of heritage automobiles and iconic sports cars. Launched in November 2021 by six petrolhead Emirati brothers, Flat12 is located in a 10,000 square foot warehouse built in 1979 – the oldest in Dubai. Sip coffee supplied by one of the finest roasteries in the United Arab Emirates, while admiring the finest automobiles in the world.
For the best outdoor setting
Al Khazzan is a zero-energy park where everything including the electricity, irrigation system and night lighting is powered by solar energy. Situated less than 10 minutes from Dubai Mall, you’ll spot the Park from a mile away – look for the iconic 40m tall water tank decorated in blue and white.
Nestled inside, under the shade of some beautiful, old trees, is The Barn Berlin‘s first shop outside Berlin. If you happen to be in town with a young family, you can enjoy the coffee under the shade of those trees while you watch the kids play in the gated park.
For the best breakfast in Dubai
Any list of the best coffee in Dubai is incomplete without Stomping Grounds. Winner of the 2020 Time Out Dubai’s Best Breakfast award (and many others), Stomping Grounds is a firm favorite of locals and expats alike. The owner, Dubai-based Australian entrepreneur, Ryan Godinho, is considered one of the region’s pioneers in specialty coffee education and cafe culture development. And he is vocal about his love (and concern) for the industry. It just so happens he also serves some of the best breakfast in Dubai. Combine that with a fine specialty coffee selection and you have the makings of the best breakfast in Dubai. By the way, while you’re at Flat 12, pop next door to Specialty Batch, Ryan’s roastery.
Once you’ve visited these five specialty coffeeshops, you’ll have a fair idea of everything happening in Dubai’s specialty coffee scene. My advice is: explore. There are so many more gems.