cafe bear is my curated guide of handpicked coffeeshops. I’ve always enjoyed coffee but only in the past few years have I come to truly appreciate the journey of coffee from seed to cup.  Many hours of my week are spent in coffeeshops whether it’s working on my laptop, catching up with friends or just some alone time. I don’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur, but I do enjoy specialty coffee specifically part of of the third wave movement. For coffee to be considered specialty it must score above 80 points on a 100 point scale. The third wave movement represents a shift within the specialty coffee area where coffee is even more fine tuned into a more artisanal small-batch sphere.  There are many factors that go into all of this, but I won’t get into all of that as I’m still learning as I sip. All in all specialty coffee is pure and meticulously handled throughout the entire process of seed to cup ~ planting, harvesting, processing, drying, milling, exporting, cupping, roasting, grinding, brewing.

The cafe bear guide simply stated is a compilation of my favorite coffeeshops. The kind of cafes that you keep returning to again and again, whether it be for the cozy atmosphere or the lip smacking coffee. These are spots that I believe are dependable and consistent for the most part (I do believe that every barista has a bad day). cafe bear is not about coffee snobbery, it’s more about an appreciation of the crafted world of specialty coffee, roasters, baristas and above all the simple joy of sitting at the corner table in your favorite coffeeshop with an excellent cup of coffee in your hand.

Why a bear? Well because I love bears and they’re cute.

Dubai

Brew Cafe

Cozy nooks and hidden corners alongside raw wooden textures and the kind of coffee you crave every morning, that’s Brew Cafe. Guest beans rotate on the regular including appearances from The Barn, Right Side, Blue Bottle, Man Versus Machine and many more. The space is small and quaint with a homey inviting feel. Baristas are cheerful, knowledgeable and always excited to share what’s new at the cafe. Spoilt for choice with a wide variety of brewing methods, breakfast pots and delicious sweet morsels including a delectable dark chocolate peanut butter pretzel ball, Brew Cafe hits all the right notes. Don’t miss their signature “dirty white” which is a shot of espresso and perfectly steamed milk, poured over ice with a sprinkle of ground coffee for texture.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing, custom sodas, matcha by matcha maiden
location: jumeriah beach road, umm suqeim
goo.gl/IqI5Np / +971 4 331 2333
hours: open daily 7am – 11pm
~ instagram.com/brewcafeuae

Cremolata

Cremolata is a small gelato shop located right by the shore of Dubai Fishing Harbor in Jumeriah. Specializing in homemade all-natural gelato, owner Abdelrahman spent a great deal of time in Italy working to perfect their handcrafted gelato experience. Alongside the gelato comes coffee, extraordinary coffee to be precise. Cremolata’s coffee concept is called coffee & story and uses specialty beans of various profiles from a private roaster in the UK. Different origins are rotated on the regular – Costa Rica, Guatemalan, and Honduras are personal favorites. Baristas are meticulous and perfectionists when it comes to brewing, they taste everything before they serve it to you to ensure it’s right. A special shout out to Noel whose passion for coffee is evident in every single cup. Grab a table outdoors by the water under the shade of an umbrella and watch the daily happenings of the fishing harbor surrounded by seagoers, boats and local fisherman.

beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages
~ location: the souq at the fishing harbor, umm suqeim
goo.gl/EV1ygU / +971 55 956 1353 (a second location also exists in sharjah with a full service italian restaurant goo.gl/8odQLH)
~ hours: open daily 9am – 11 pm
http://instagram.com/cremolata

Gold Box Roastery

As soon as your step into Goldbox Roastery you know you’re in for a treat. Brightly painted murals, Latin American beats on play and the eclectic interiors draw you in immediately. Gold Box is a roastery first and foremost roasting and supplying beans for many coffeeshops in the city but you cannot go wrong having your coffee made by star barista Nestor on site. There are always a wide variety of interesting beans to choose from, tell them what notes and brew method you’re feeling and rest assured they will take care of you. Gold Box has a community feeling of warmth where “everyone knows your name.” Don’t miss a game of table tennis while you’re there.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing, nitro cold brew, tea by Storm Tea
~ location: warehouse 7 smark 3, umm suqeim Road, al quoz
goo.gl/znQZhX / +971 4 341 4320
hours: saturday – thursday 9am – 6pm
~ http://www.goldboxroastery.com

The Espresso Lab

Marble surfaces meet light wood in this bright and airy space located at the backend of a wellness center. The baristas, or “coffee chefs” as they call themselves, at Espresso Lab are methodical, precise and churn out the most beautiful cups from manual brews to espresso based. Try the “fika” experience which is the ultimate tasting board of three interesting and exclusive coffee drinks all brewed differently. On a daily basis there are usually two espresso and two drip offerings available, but the baristas are always happy to suggest something for you. During the cooler months the outdoor garden is an absolute treat for those seeking a green space in the dry desert. No food on site, but fresh housemade pressed juices are usually available.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing, coconut water, pressed juices
~ location: the hundred wellness center – 153B street, jumeriah 1
goo.gl/euUbsm / +971 50 421 1188
~ hours: tuesday – sunday 7am – 9pm
~ http://theespressolab.com

 

Cafe Rider

Custom motorcycles meets coffeeshop in this raw industrial warehouse located in dusty Al Quoz. Spacious concrete surfaces, motorcycle memorabilia and a coffee bar full of rockstar baristas make this space the perfect place to bring your laptop and have a day away from the office. Cafe Rider previously featured guest beans including SightGlass from San Francisco, but an in-house roastery has recently opened up and beans now are roasted in-house by head barista Dima who is truly a coffee expert in all senses. A full food menu is available through the Ghaf Kitchen truck which is stationed inside.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing, premium tea selection
~ location: warehouse 7, 14C umm suquem Road, al quoz
goo.gl/mUlk4R / +971 4 321 4411
~ hours: saturday – thursday 8am – 8pm / friday 8am – 5pm
~ http://cafe-rider.com

Mokha 1450

Arabic traditions seep through the ornate bone inlay wooden tables and crushed burgundy velvet couches that make up the space of Mokha 1450. Pick a corner and it’s yours to spend the afternoon choosing between a rich ethiopian geisha and rare single origin offerings. The coffee lover is spoilt for choice with plenty of manual brew and espresso offerings to delight, all whilst maintaining the Arabic feel and hospitality throughout. A small plate of dates are served with your coffee adding a sweet morsel to each cup.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing
~ location: aswaq mall, al wasl road
goo.gl/TxMEXj / +971 4 321 6455
~ hours: sunday – wednesday 8am – 10pm / thursday – saturday 8am – 11pm
~ http://www.mokha1450.com

Roseleaf Cafe

From the mix n’ match china to the sunroom seating Roseleaf Cafe feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. The cafe is tucked away in the far corner of the lush Dubai Garden Center making it perfect for those in search of the ultimate cozy space. Choose a sweet treat from their bountiful pastry display, the brownie is on point. Roseleaf has recently tied up with local coffee company called Nightjar. Nightjar sources green coffee direct from selected single origin farms with micro and nano-lots. Coffee is then roasted at their warehouse in Al Quoz. Beans change regularly and the cafe is currently working with a selection of Columbia lots, try the Perla de Otun which brings forward red apple, toffee and caramel notes. A mocha is a personal favorite with its dark chocolate specks glimmering throughout the cup. Many food options are available from breakfast and lunch fare to light bites and main dishes.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing, specialty tea, smoothies, fresh juices
~ location: dubai garden center, sheikh zayed Road
goo.gl/s8UTGa / +971 4 449 8578
~ hours: open daily 8am – 8pm
~ http://www.roseleafcafe.com

Coffee Museum

Located in the heritage district of Al Fahidi in Bur Dubai, the Coffee Museum is a treat for the true coffee connoisseur. Celebrating the history of all things coffee this museum meets coffeeshop provides a full immersion into the art of coffee making since inception. Browse the ground floor which is made up of tiny rooms each housing a plethora of coffee relics, artifacts and antiques. It’s a bursting treasure chest for the coffee lover. Don’t miss an authentic Ethiopian coffee ceremony, or jebena buna where green coffee beans are roasted over hot coals and ground by hand with a mortar & pestle. It’s a special treat to watch this historic craft. Head on upstairs to the cafe area and grab a seat at the coffee bar where knowledgeable baristas have got you covered.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing
~ location: villa 44, al fahidi historical neighborhood, bastakiya
goo.gl/gLNtRm / +971 4 353 8777
~ hours: saturday – thursday 9am – 5pm
~ http://www.coffeemuseum.ae

Stomping Grounds

Stomping Grounds is a large scale villa turned coffeeshop/restaurant in Jumeriah. The space isn’t exactly the coziest, but it’s a great option for those craving both food and coffee. Stomping Grounds is home to Specialty Batch which supplies and roasts coffee for quite a number of coffeeshops in the region. Beans are roasted in-house to perfection with a wide variety of origins that change day to day. Baristas are jovial and always happy to have a chat. The Sumatra is a reliable favorite while the breakfast chia pudding is the best in town.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing, tea by Steampunk’d, fresh juices
~ location: villa #98, 12D street, jumeriah 1
goo.gl/Nza7qF / +971 4 344 4451
~ hours: open daily 8am – 11pm
~ http://www.specialtybatch.com

Sketch Art Cafe

Sketch Art Cafe is a true hidden gem located in the Marsam Mattar Gallery off Al Mina Road near Satwa. The art themed cafe features rustic wooden tables are adorned with paper and pencils to sketch or doodle as you please. The cafe is tranquil and doesn’t get much footfall, perfect for those looking for a quiet place to work. What lacks in ambience and a sort of confusion of interiors is made up in the thoughtful coffee, which features guest beans on rotation. Ask for Genesis, a chatty and cheerful barista who is always happy to make a suggestion. A small variety of bites are available such as croissants, cookies, and cakes. Grab a seat outside under the umbrellas (on a cooler day) to enjoy the dramatic steel sculpture that sits in the lawn or step into the gallery area and peruse the latest exhibition.

~ beverage offerings: variety of espresso based beverages, manual & alternative brewing
~ location: marsam mattar gallery, villa 21, street 4B satwa
goo.gl/oX5Z3q / +971 4 398 8331 (a second location also exists at al boom tourist village
goo.gl/v3qlDX)
~ hours: saturday – thursday 9am – 9pm
~ http://www.marsammattar.ae