Interview with Salem Bin Khamis Bin Salem Al Suwaidi, Co-Founder of Hoof Cafe

How did the concept of Hoof come about and what inspired you to open a cafe?
In 2015, I attended a camp in Amsterdam with his two friends, where we realized we shared a strong passion for horses and specialty coffee. We visited various specialty cafes whilst at the camp to learn about the industry and began exploring the idea of creating a hospitality concept that brings the two worlds together. In 2018, we established the first Emirati specialty coffee cafe that combines the love of equestrian culture and specialty coffee and since then, we have already opened six branches operating across Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Dubai.

Tell us about your career in showjumping.
My interest in equestrian culture started at a young age and was inherited from my grandfather, as he owned a stable and always encouraged horse riding as a hobby in our family. I eventually trained as a showjumper and started joining competitions. I’m very excited to have won many championships including Sharjah International Show Jumping Championship 2017, Abu Dhabi International Show Jumping Championship 2018, and Al Ain International Show Jumping Championship 2019. One of the highlights of my career would be being awarded the title of Emirates Show Jumping Champion seven times.

What is your vision for Hoof?
Our vision for Hoof is to elevate the experience of specialty coffee across the UAE. In 2018, I attended an SCI coffee processing course at Torch Academy located in Pu’er, China, to learn practical methods of processing natural, dried, washed and fermented coffees. I also visited coffee farms around the world such as Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Guatemala with hopes of bringing the best beans and techniques to the bars of Hoof. 

How did you make sure that Hoof’s coffee is unique compared to other specialty coffee shops in the UAE?
Hoof Cafe rotates its coffee selection between microlots and competition coffees. These coffees have a cup score of 88 to 90+ following SCA protocols, which means they are in the upper tier of specialty coffees worldwide. We are one of the few cafes in the Middle East with the best and most varied selections of specialty coffee. We source from 13 different origins, which is not an easy feat, and have close ties with award-winning coffee producers such as Lamastus Family Estates, Savage Coffees, Daye Bensa, and Cafe Granja La Esperanza.

Hoof Cafe’s branch in Dubai Mall is celebrating its first anniversary in May. What’s been the key to its success?
Hoof is a tribute to our collective love for equestrian culture, horses, show jumping and passion for coffee. We strive to keep the taste, quality and hospitality consistent just as we do at our other locations, which our loyal patrons appreciate. We offer a diverse selection of breakfast and lunch creations and pastries and desserts to complement our coffees and other beverages; served with passion as a by-product of its farmers, roasters, and baristas that each honed their crafts throughout the years.

What are your plans for the future?
Our ultimate goal for Hoof is to continue our vision of turning it into a leading destination for specialty coffee in the UAE whilst strengthening coffee knowledge within the community. The possibilities of flavours are endless in specialty coffee and we want to discover them with our customers. We also hope to expand Hoof’s presence across the seven Emirates in the near future, as well as in the Gulf and even globally within the next five years.

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