Specialty coffee is quite new in Kuwait with the first specialty cafes opening just three years ago. However, coffee has long been a deep embedded tradition in the soul of the Kuwaiti people. Family, friendship, and major life decisions are shared and made over a few small and simple cups of Gulf style Arabic coffee. Quite different than specialty coffee, Kuwaiti Arabic coffee is lightly roasted and boiled with spices like cardamom, clove, and saffron; and served in small espresso sized cups. With increased transportation and trade some families started making Turkish coffee. And this is where Muhammad’s coffee journey began.
After finishing university in America and moving back to Kuwait in 2012, Muhammad became intrigued seeing how his father made Turkish coffee with such love and care. So he started to do the same. As time passed he decided to start his own business but was unsure what to do. But after one late evening brainstorming with his brothers, one brother gave him some life-changing advice: “You don’t have to do something so different, just do one thing, but do it really well.” And so Muhammad’s café Caffeine was born and now he is fantastic roaster, barista, café owner, and constant learner. His desire for excellence led him to become the first Kuwaiti Q Grader at the Torch Coffee Lab in Malaysia which hosted over 12 nationalities from East to West.
Why did you want to become a Q?
I’m always hungry to learn more and develop myself in the coffee industry, so this was a great opportunity to evaluate and see where I am at in terms of sensory and overall cupping skills. I was also very excited to become the first certified Kuwaiti Q Grader.
What excites you about Q?
The challenge! This program with its series of 22 tests was always intimidating to me. I thought of joining the class a few times but never thought I was ready. This time I thought “lets just go for it!”
How will Q impact your current cafe and coffee business?
Q will absolutely help me evaluate coffee more professionally, and have more confidence in my cupping scores and decisions when choosing and evaluating new coffee beans for my Café and roastery.
What are your thoughts on being the first Kuwaiti Q?
I still can’t believe it. This all happened so fast, and with very little planning and preparation. I am very grateful to all my friends and family members that believed in me and assured me that I will get it.
What’s your Coffee Story?
I started the journey exactly three years ago with the simple idea of bringing something new and different to the Kuwaiti market. We saw a gap in the market and decided to get the proper training and offer the Kuwaiti market a premium coffee experience, and that’s how Caffeine was born.
What do you see as the future of coffee in Kuwait?
In the last few years the coffee industry in Kuwait witnessed an incredible growth in terms of specialty coffee. We went from having around three shops in 2015 to close to 70 in 2017. Its definitely the trend at the moment and its still going. Therefore, I believe coffee demand in Kuwait will keep growing and coffee quality will keep improving especially as more and more people recognize the different between commercial and specialty coffee.