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

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 12 October 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.

Registration for the five different categories of the Championships is open. All applicants must register for consideration before the deadline of Thursday 31 October, 2019.

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, an research initiative  into the traditional preparation and presentation of Emirati Gahwa and to document and protect it as an essential element of our culture.

For full details of the Gahwa Championships, and to register, visit:; or contact the organisers at:


About the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

The Department of Culture and Tourism conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction, which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The organisation manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programs relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. DCT – Abu Dhabi supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honor the emirate’s heritage. A key role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.

About the Gahwa Championships:

The Gahwa Championships is the first regional Arabic coffee competition of its kind. Held in Abu Dhabi and designed to challenge participants in all aspects of the Gahwa tradition, the Championships represent the world’s premier celebration of this most vital aspect of Arab culture and hospitality.

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