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If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll have noticed that there’s been a lot going on recently with the team from Costa Middle East.  The team are very proactive with their social media using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook a lot to publicise exciting projects going on in the Middle East and to involve active coffee fans such as myself in some of their events.  Here’s a catch up on a few events that I’ve attended recently :

Barista Of The Year Middle East and Asia Finals

The Costa Coffee Barista of the Year Competition (BOY) is an annual global competition that recognises the passion and talent of Costa Baristas around the world. Baristas are tested on skills, knowledge and understanding of the industry aw well as their overall performance, flair and passion for great coffee.

I was invited to the final regional round of the competition where 12 contestants from across the Middle East and Asia region were tasked with creating their own unique signature drink, judged on its taste, presentation and innovation.  12 Baristas were participating representing Kazakhstan, UAE, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Cambodia, Singapore and Qatar.

Congratulations to Jonathan Kahano representing Saudi Arabia, who will travel to London in October for the prestigious finale, the international “Champion of Champions” where his coffee skills will be scrutinized by a panel of expert judges led by Gennaro Pelliccia, the Master of Coffee at Costa.

Launch of Camel Milk Strawberry Cooler and selection of Muffins 

As well as getting the same coffee blend across the world and stocking a range of familiar products across the world, which is something we all appreciate,  each Costa regional has the freedom to make adjustments to the products they offer.  They do this so they can  represent their customer likes and dislikes  and the geographic location in which they are located.  For instance, drinks in the Middle East tend to be sweeter than in other countries and there are more chilled drink choices in Thailand where a higher proportion of chilled drinks are bought.  Two examples of local adjustments have been launched in Dubai recently and I was delighted to attend the launch of the Strawberry cooler which has been developed using camel milk as well as to be involved in a customer tasting of a range of new muffins developed here in Dubai.

Muffin Selections

You know, sometimes it’s hard being invited to an event where you have to taste your way through a whole range of muffins LOL.  No seriously, the event was interesting – we were asked to do a side by side comparison of some of the existing range compared to a potential new range as well as to complete information about our buying preferences and price we would be prepared for the muffins.  Seated with other food bloggers we had many an interesting debate on which muffins were our personal favourites and the tasting was sublime. My personal favourite was a tangy, tart and oh so lovely low fat lemon curd muffin which I’m pleased to say is currently on sale in a few selected stores in Dubai, I just hope you guys love it as much as I did and that it makes it onto the shelves of all Costa stores going forward.

Strawberry Camel Milk Cooler

Ever tried camel milk ?? It’s slightly salty to taste but not too much, its low in fat and high in calcium and vitamin C, boost immune systems and is said to have anti-ageing properties and to top it all, is produced right here in Dubai.  Firstly we sampled pure camel milk, which I enjoyed and admit to adding it to my fridge now as a firm staple.  We then moved onto tasting the new Strawberry Cooler which has been developed by the team.  Creamy, rich, sweet and indulgent I enjoyed the cooler and to be honest unless you have a particularly sensitive palate I’m not sure that you would know it’s made with camel milk.  A little sweet for my taste I will be sure to have it made less sweet next time, but that’s the joy of having baristas making your drink, so you can ask for it to be personalised to suit your taste.

By the way,  you don’t have to order a Strawberry Cooler to sample camel milk at Costa, you can replace Camel Milk in your normal coffee order.

By the way, the Camel milk comes from local company Cameliscious 

And what did us bloggers think of the Strawberry Camel Milk Cooler take a look here