Doha Roastery came into being in 2017 as the creation of Qatari business owner Eisa Al-Romaihi and his wife, Aryam Al-Romaihi, who is originally from Venezuela. Their shared passion for coffee and food led them to start a business in Doha that offered fresh speciality coffee and Venezuelan food. The company was originally registered under a different name before it became apparent that the coffee aspect was going to be all-consuming for the first while. They then pivoted to only roasting and selling speciality coffees, and hence Doha Roastery was born.
The Early Days
As the business took shape, Eisa trained with the Specialty Coffee Association, The Cup of Excellence, and the Coffee Quality Institute. They were fortunate to develop a network of international mentors that assisted them in perfecting their roasting talent. Eisa became the first Qatari Q-grader—an individual credentialed to grade and score coffee based on Specialty Coffee Association’s (SCA) standards. They found an initial location for the business and purchased their first roaster from overseas. They then began roasting small batches and “cupping (tasting) in their lab”. Their friends that assisted during this time also became Doha Roastery’s first customers.
In the beginning, they sampled a variety of beans to select what would be sold under their new brand. The focus was to be able to deliver premium coffee that met the SCA standards. From these humble beginnings, the company now sells beans from various origins, including Brazil, Ethiopia, and Columbia, to name a few. Eisa not only wanted to deliver great coffee but also wanted to offer it at a reasonable price. And years on, this is still the case—Eisa stresses that staying humble and true to their roots is still a top priority.
Challenges and Growth
The roaster has continued to keep up with Qatar’s evolving cafe culture and increasingly savvy and sophisticated customer base. This growth and success, however, has not been without its challenges. Over the years, Doha Roastery has had to relocate and train new staff, establish a means for bean maintenance, keep up with a growing list of errands, and stay ahead of the incoming costs while focusing on developing innovative solutions. Eisa even had to act as the repairer for his roaster due to not finding an available one in Qatar. Yet, despite these hurdles, Eisa shares that he enjoys these tasks and loves the business because of the opportunities for growth that regularly come up. And the company’s customer-based focus and ability to spot local trends appear to have paid off. They have been able to open two more locations in Doha and expand their offerings to a loyal and growing customer base.
As with everywhere in the world, the pandemic presented its own set of obstacles, and Doha Roastery was not exempt. Eisa and Aryam struggled with getting their products to their customers earlier in the pandemic because of the lockdowns and increased health restrictions. To tackle this, they increased their safety requirements for their staff and products and were able to keep delivering their coffee directly to customers. They also included free branded coffee mugs with slogans like “this too shall pass”, “stay at home”, “we’ll be together soon”, and “quarantine 2020”. These gave customers something positive to read while enjoying their daily coffee.
Doha Roastery Today
These days, life is slowly returning to normal, and Doha Roastery is continuing to stay focused on its mission to provide quality products for a reasonable price. They also plan to continue to expand from their current three locations and grow their product lineup. Besides offering a variety of whole beans and speciality coffees, they have also started selling Nespresso compatible pods. Plus, they offer a variety of coffee accessories, including knock boxes, Chemex pour-overs, filters, and other items available at their Salwa road location. And for the first time in Qatar, you can try traditional Venezuelan dishes served fresh alongside a cup of coffee. If you are fortunate enough, Eisa or Aryam will be there, and you will be greeted with traditional Qatari and Venezuelan hospitality.
- Salwa Road
- Woqod, Rawdat Al Hamam
- Snow Al Furjan Markets, Rawdat Al Hamam
- Instagram: @doha.roastery
- Facebook: facebook.com/doha-roastery-2354702268131003