A press release today from the Dubai conference & exhibition group IC&E announces a cooperation with the Specialty Coffee Association of America to launch the first ever specialty coffee & tea conference in Dubai this November.

The conference will host an exhibition, lectures and UAE barista championship.

Dubai, UAE – March 16, 2009: Organisers of the Specialty Coffee & Tea Convention 2009, the first international specialty coffee and tea event for the Arab World, have announced during the event’s official launch today (March 16, 2009) in Dubai that the convention is poised to gather over 100 companies from all over the world showcasing the latest products, equipment and trends in the gourmet coffee and tea industry. The Convention will be held at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai from November 10 to 12, 2009 as a major complementary initiative that seeks to support the significant growth of the beverage market of the GCC, particularly in the UAE; whose network of over 4,000 specialty beverage shops has helped strengthen its position as the largest re-exporter and importer of roasted and soluble coffee beans in the region.

Organised by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and International Conferences & Exhibitions (IC&E), the event is expected to draw the largest gathering of coffee and tea traders, consumers and professionals from the Middle East and other international markets. The event will feature a focused exhibition, a high-profile conference, targeted educational sessions and workshops, and a wide range of opportunities for networking, business sourcing and market intelligence. Another key highlight of the Specialty Coffee & Tea Convention 2009 is the Middle East’s first-ever Barista Championship, which will determine the region’s representatives at the world finals.

Lilly Rocha, Senior Director of Event Management, SCAA said: “The UAE has been ranked as among the 15 largest re-exporting countries by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), a key figure indicating that the UAE serves as a vital link in the international coffee trade. Moreover, with literally thousands of specialty beverage outlets scattered across the country, the UAE has likewise emerged as an important coffee and tea market and consequently a highly attractive destination for major investments in this sector. As such, the Specialty Coffee & Tea Convention is a well-timed initiative that will help consolidate the economic potential of coffee and tea trade in the UAE, and ultimately influence the industry’s growth in the rest of the Arab World.”

Dubai is a strategic location for the Convention because of its easy accessibility and solid background in the coffee and tea trade; statistics have shown that tea imports in Dubai have been increasing steadily over the years to touch 96.6 million kilos in 2007, while coffee has likewise been a highly valuable commodity in the country with the UAE being listed as the 15th largest re-exporter in the world by ICO. In addition, there are over 4,000 specialty beverage shops scattered all over the UAE, which account for up to 50 per cent of the country’s coffee and tea demand, providing an important distribution and sales channel for trading activities of tea and coffee products.

Anselm Godinho, Managing Director, IC&E, organisers of the event said: “Coffee and tea have been ingrained in the Arab World lifestyle and remain among the most popular form of beverages across the region. The Specialty Coffee & Tea Convention will provide a unified platform for global industry players to access important growth areas

across the region and help strengthen the market with the introduction of various product innovations and state-of-the-art technology.”

The inaugural Middle East Barista Championship is accredited by the World Barista Championship, the world’s biggest and premier coffee competition. The winners of the tournament will represent the Arab region at the World Barista Championship in Chelmsford, UK in 2010.

SCAA is the world’s largest coffee trade association dedicated to creating a vibrant specialty coffee community, representing more than 40 countries and every segment of the specialty coffee in over 26 years in the business. The organisation recognises, develops and promotes specialty coffee by setting and maintaining quality standards for the industry; conducting research on coffee, equipment and perfection of craft; and providing education, training, resources and business services for members.