November 21, 2016

This is now UAE’s favorite hot drink

Arabs are divided over coffee and tea. Some enjoy the kick of caffeine while other love the subtleties of tea. So which of the two is more popular? 

Coffee takes the lead


Reports say that the coffee market is expected to increase by over 30% in the coming years. With the UAE emerging as a central trading hub in the global coffee supply chain, demand for coffee beverages is at an all-time high. The import and re-export of raw, roasted, and ground coffee beans have played a key role in the rise of the market. Globally recognized coffee brands such as Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, and Costa Coffee are also setting their roots in the UAE.

Moreover, 82% of the population is drinking coffee daily. Even when temperatures reach 100 degrees, most would still order a hot latte than a cold beverage. With coffee brands displaying more of their products on local stores, consumers are given more options to enjoy their drink. But for most consumers, coffee has transitioned from being just a drink to an essential leisure and business beverage. Some even recreate the café experience in the comforts of their homes, resulting in the rise of fresh ground coffee bean and coffee machine sales.

Tea is still a favorite beverage


Tea drinkers shouldn’t worry too much since the market is still faring well for tea beverages. Back in 2011, tea dominated the market and was the Arab majority’s drink of choice. The demand has remained strong over the past few years, with black tea taking the lead among the most popular hot beverages in the UAE. In 2014, tea consumption rose to seven million kilograms per annum, making it the second only to water as the most widely consumed beverage in the country.

The rise of bespoke cafes and high-end tea salons has much to do with the continuous popularity of tea beverages. These establishments give way to personalization and better branding for tea manufacturers. Apart from this, tea drinking is pretty much part of Arabic hospitality culture. Much like other Asian countries, Arabs welcome their guests by serving them with tea.

Brands such as Lipton are still relevant in today’s market. Apart from being one of the first to introduce the concept of tea bags, Lipton continues to captivate consumers with the quality and innovative flavors of their tea products. There are also old favorites like Twinning’s and Dilma. Of course, we can’t forget TWG  if we’re talking about tea. It’s the current rising star in high-end special teas, with a vast selection of tea flavors and a dazzling array of foods to pair them with.

Nonetheless, there are still those who hope that traditional UAE beverages can match the growing coffee trend. A portion of consumers still prefers to drink zafrani tea, a saffron-based tea with milk, or karak, an Indian tea with milk. While a huge majority would order a frappuccino, you will always spot those who would order these traditional UAE tea beverages due to their deeply rooted cultural staying power.

While coffee remains to be the most popular hot beverage of choice by the locals, tea will always be their toughest competition as they’re only ahead of tea by a small margin. So which one is your favorite, coffee or tea? Tell us in the comments!