In the heart of Bur Dubai, the historic district, we came across one of the most charming museums we have ever been to, the Coffee Museum. It set up around 3 years ago in the narrow and calm streets of the cultural and historical hub that has been rebuilt to reflect the local traditional architecture.
Unlike most museums we are all used to, the Coffee Museum is cozy, small and simple. But there’s nothing simple about the way it makes you feel! Other than the fact that they make the most amazing coffee we’ve tried in a long time, the museum transports you to a different world, a calm, relaxing and aromatic world of… well, coffee.
We got giddy just walking towards the museum, as if we had found a long lost gem and personally, I think we did. Something about the surrounding and the quirky traditional twist to it just makes you happy inside, or is it the coffee? Perhaps both.
Outside the entrance sat a man in local attire topped off with the biggest and friendliest smile. “WELCOME, WELCOME” he greeted us happily, pointing toward the entrance of the traditional house.
We barely had one foot in the door and were immediately embraced (and happily so) by the scent of coffee. The house is decorated with warmth and an oriental style, showcasing coffee machines of all types, ages and cultures in every corner including some outstanding antique items. The culture and history of coffee is lovingly displayed throughout the two stories of the old house. Not only do they showcase the traditional and different regional styles of coffee (including Japanese, Ethiopian and Arabic style), they truly educate you about the history of coffee, coffee roasting in the most delightful way.
Walking through the first few rooms of the Coffee Museum it was evident how much passion for coffee must have been present in collecting the antique items from all over the world. Shortly after roaming around the first few rooms, we were joined by the friendly man from the entrance (who turned out to be the proud owner of the museum). He continued to show us around his space and encouraged us to touch and smell every coffee bean he had to offer. Needless to say I had to ask the most crucial question of all. “Can we taste the coffee here?”. Filled with pride and a joyful skip in his walk he then led us to the Ethiopian coffee station, where we were invited to sit with the lady, who made us our first cup of traditional Ethiopian coffee! Yes – It’s delicious!
Besides being totally fascinated by the traditional technique itself, we found out that Ethiopian coffee is accompanied by popcorn. Not sweets or chocolate… but popcorn. It is definitely something to try at home!
They say that 100s of years ago it all started in Ethiopia. Have you heard of the legend of Kaldi? – he was said to have discovered the coffee plant around 750AD. The legendary Arab goatherd notice that his goats would get rather hyperactive and energetic after having nibbled on mysterious red fruits, and tried them himself. Overly excited by their effect, which can all relate to nowadays, he brought the berries to an Islamic monk, who strongly disapproved and threw them into the fire. Immediately a delicious aroma escaped the flames and, thankfully so, the monk then ground up the roasted berries and dissolved them in hot water, creating the first cup of coffee ever, and we thank him for that.
Located on the second floor of the museum, is the café. Decorated with flags of the world of coffee and beautiful coffee machines and quirky signs, it is a perfect place to sit down and have yet another cup of coffee (this time with a coffee cookie). The variety is grand, but with the Dubai weather we decided to indulge in an iced coffee. Although the museum is rather far from the city center, I could see myself coming here for a relaxing afternoon with friends in tow. The atmosphere and surrounding go hand in hand, and for all you coffee lovers out there. Take a day off and make your way to that museum, drink your way through the coffee menu, responsibly, and enjoy the beautiful traditional surrounding away from the big city life.