Team shortlist18 May 2017 AT 12:49 PM

DEBATE: Has the rise of Dubai's coffee connoisseurs gone too far?

Our Shortlisters debate whether coffee culture is elevating the experience or muddying the waters
Team shortlist18 May 2017 AT 12:49 PM
UAE, Dubai, Debate, Coffee
© Shutterstock
UAE, Dubai, Debate, Coffee
© Shutterstock

Nathan Irvine
ShortList Deputy Editor and barista fanboy-slash-wannabe

If you’d asked me this three years ago, I’d have been on the other side of the argument. But a chance meeting with a world-ranked barista opened my eyes to the craft and flavours of the humble coffee bean. I soon found myself in a realm of cafetières, elderflower notes and the type of brewing equipment that would make a lab technician blush. Years of trial and error later, and I can make the perfect cup of flavour-filled coffee every single time. And once you try the good stuff, the usual brown sludge just won’t cut it anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still sip a coffee from one of the numerous high street brands – we all need a quick fix every now and again. But compared to the hot beverages you can now get from one of Dubai’s numerous and excellent independent coffee shops, we have to accept it’s awful. There is simply no excuse for drinking bad coffee these days.

Honestly, get some brewing equipment, grind your own beans and step into a whole new world of coffee possibility. You’ll wonder why you put up with instant rubbish for so long.


Eddie Taylor
ShortList Editor and complete hot drink peasant

There are, in my opinion, two types of coffee: drinkable and just drinkable enough. The geographies, topographies, roasteries and snobberies that seek to punctuate this scale with undue complexity are, to me, as ridiculous as they are redundant.

So, let’s put it out there: I’m fine with instant and I’ll happily clutch a steaming plastic thimble from a vending machine – just as I’m okay plunging away at the cafetière served at a five-star breakfast or toying with the capsules of a Nespresso machine. But how my hot, brown caffeine is delivered to me is immaterial to its basic brand promise: an essential and comforting boost throughout the day.

It’s not that I can’t tell the difference between a smooth lungo and a mug of Nescafé, it’s just that I don’t care. And I hope I never will. The differences described by the sudden appearance of sommelier-type words like fruity, syrupy, creamy, velvety and caramelised are the sounds of contrivance, another excuse for people to affect expertise on an undeserving topic. Here’s the thing: coffee isn’t about how it tastes, it’s about how it works.

What do you think? Has the rise of the coffee connoisseur gone too far?