We love hunting out new specialty openings in Dubai and this time we take a look at a new coffee roastery that has recently opened in Dubai Investment Park – Jebena Specialty Coffee. I recently caught up with the founder of Jebena, Stuart Szabo, over a cup of Ethiopian Sidama Sasaba, to talk about Jebena and the story behind the roastery.
Stuart’s love for Specialty Coffee started ten years ago when he lived in Melbourne, a city that has had a long established café culture. Stuart’s job takes him all across the world and he is always on the hunt for Specialty Coffee. After plenty of exploration, tasting and cupping, Stuart’s passion grew and he started roasting green beans at home using a small 1kg kit-build roaster (a 1957 Faema Urania lever espresso machine), which he lovingly restored and still uses. Soon after relocating to Dubai, and disappointed at the proliferation of US style chain cafés and poor quality of coffee offered in hotels, he saw an opportunity to start his specialty roastery, and partner with various F&B outlets to “delight guests with an extraordinary coffee experience”.
I visited Jebena’s custom built production facility which has climate controlled storage, Giesen roasting equipment and a dedicated cupping lab and training facility on roasting day. The green beans are roasted here according to roast profiles developed by Stuart to highlight and enhance the best unique natural flavours. The roasting process takes twelve minutes as the beans slowly turn from green, to medium brown and the aroma when they quickly cool down are intoxicating. As a final quality check the beans are hand sorted and imperfect beans, either in shape or colour, are discarded as these may impact the taste in the cup. Finally the beans are bagged and ready for dispatch. The beans are best enjoyed around five to seven days after roasting when they have had a chance to degas and the flavours have fully developed.
Jebena offer regular free public cupping sessions at the roastery, Home Barista training courses and complete manual brewing kits. Their current speciality coffees include two natural processes – Ethiopian, Konga Sedie and Sidama Sasaba; and one washed from Kenya, Gakuya Ini. The Sasaba is perfect as an espresso and also great in a flat white, my milk coffee of choice and has been Q graded at 90. You can also buy Jebena Specialty Coffee online and they are also currently available at Cafe Rider.
Colour and Coffee
Colour plays a big part in the coffee life cycle. Coffee beans start their lives as coffee cherries which should be picked when the sugars have developed. The cherries are usually red in colour and after drying and processing the coffee beans turn green. From green, they turn into varying shades of brown as they are roasted. The roasting process changes the moisture, oil and sugar levels in the beans and depending on the roast this can completely change the taste of the beans even if they are from the same batch.
Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel
There is a Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel, which helps to describe the range of tastes and aromas experienced in a coffee. For the first time in its 21-year history, the flavour wheel was revised and launched by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (www.scaa.org), giving a colourful representation of the different flavour attributes of coffee.
[This story has been written exclusively for FoodeMag dxb]