The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi to Launch First-Ever Gahwa Championships

Gahwa practitioners and enthusiasts to compete in Abu Dhabi in December 2019

TO CELEBRATE the heritage of Gahwa (Arabic coffee) in the GCC, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) is organising the first-ever ‘Gahwa Championships’ due to take place in the UAE capital between 9 and 11 December 2019.

The inaugural championships will coincide with the region’s premier F&B and hospitality fair, SIAL Middle East 2019, and will have several categories that test contestants’ skills and knowledge. This will include the history of Gahwa, selection of beans, preparation knowledge and serving process.

The Championships include five separate categories: a Sane’ Al Gahwa Championships for the Light Roast and Dark/Medium Roast, with prizes of AED 125,000 for the winner and AED 40,000 for the runner-up of each category; Gahwa Roaster Championships for both the Light Roast and the Dark/Medium Roast, offering AED 25,000 for the winner of each; and a Gahwa Beverage Concept Award that will recognise the winner of the finest hot or cold Gahwa-based concept beverage, with a prize of AED 20,000.

Norah Alkhamis, Head of Research in Cultural Planning & Development Department at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “A major part of our mission is to preserve and promote the rich heritage of the UAE. With these championships, our goal is to celebrate Gahwa as a practice that has been intrinsic to our region’s tradition of hospitality and generosity for centuries. This inaugural event is only the beginning; we aim to expand the championships internationally over the next few years to engage as large a global audience as possible.”

Gahwa is integral to Arab hospitality, as it has always been, and remains, a central part of Arab culture and has over the years become a symbolic act of generosity, with its preparation and serving marked by elaborate traditions and rituals. 

UNESCO inscribed Gahwa on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2015, to reflect its importance to Arab culture, after a joint submission portfolio from a number of Arab countries, including the UAE. In 2018, DCT Abu Dhabi launched Bait Al Gahwa, a research initiative into the traditional preparation and presentation of Emirati Gahwa and to document and protect it as an essential element of our culture.


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