Undefeated Indian Shouldering National Hopes in Global Showdown
UAE’s Re-export Role in Global Coffee Trade Crossroads Falls Under Gulfood Microscope
Dubai, UAE. 6th January, 2016: As the UAE’s undefeated Turkish coffee-making champion, Indian Karthikeyan Ranjedran is pinning his hopes on a genetically-engineered Kenyan coffee bean to ward off 20 international challengers and secure his adopted homeland’s first World Cezve / Ibrik Championship title.
Having emerged victorious in last October’s National Cezve / Ibrik Championship at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Ranjedran will represent the UAE when the 21st Gulfood hosts the ninth World Cezve / Ibrik Championship from 21-25 February 2016.
Owned and organised by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE), Gulfood’s hosting of the competition, dedicated to the centuries-old art of brewing coffee in a ‘Cezve’ or ‘Ibrik’ - the small, long-handled pot – marks the contest’s Middle East debut.
“It’s a tremendous honour to represent the UAE and the hundreds of nationalities that call the country home,” said Ranjedran. “I’m a little nervous but it’s a great opportunity so I’m going to give it my best. I believe I can make it because I have the right beans, the right technique and the right team behind me.”
A barista from the southern Indian city of Pondicherry who works for Dubai’s Raw Coffee Company, Ranjedran will use Kenyan coffee bean supplier Scot Labs’ SL28 - a genetically engineered hybrid bean spliced from the genes of Tipica and Mokka from Yemen and Bourbon from the Indian Ocean French colony of Réunion Island.
“The SL28 bean was made in a test-tube in a Kenyan laboratory,” says Ranjedran. “I’ve chosen it because of its very medium roast profile. The SL28 is a beautifully delicate bean and very fruity with hints of raspberries, blueberries and only mild malic acidity. I tested the bean extensively before the nationals because you have to make 10-20 cups to find the perfect roast point – the bean fits my personal preference perfectly.”
Insisting there is no secret to his Ibrik technique and no special ingredient that tip the scales in his favour, Ranjedran puts his success down to the age-old adage that practice makes perfect.
“I was always a home barista and a big coffee drinker,” he adds. “I used to make lots of coffee variations at home a long time before I ever dreamed about entering a competition. Trial and error is still a huge part of my process. Every coffee is different because each bean has its own profile; there is a lot of fine-tuning and calibration because the character of coffee changes with varying conditions such as humidity.”