Food, Food News, Story

Weekly Brew: Behind the Scenes with White Foam

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Photography by: Faris Al Yahya
We know how important coffee is to half of the world. And with the new speciality wave coffee craze that’s been sweeping over the city, we’ve decided to go undercover -sort of- and explore this new and exciting (and rather caffeinated) terrain! What better to start with than Riyadh’s very own roasting houses? This week, we sat with White Foam to see how they made their uber cool tables… and their coffee, of course.

Tell us a little about yourself/selves and your roasting house.
We are three friends that have always been avid coffee drinkers, never really found what we were looking for in the Saudi market, and decided to create a haven for coffee lovers such as ourselves. Our coffee and roasting house is designed with coffee in mind. Apart from the obvious; coffee tables made of recycled pallets -that carried coffee bean bags-; chandeliers in the steam punk style that signify an alternative –new wave- approach to roasting coffee that encapsulates both art and science. It is a place where a writer gets inspiration, a student feels encouragement. We want to be a part of your life.

What got you interested in coffee?

At first, we were leisure coffee drinkers. Each one of us travelled to different places and discovered the variations in coffee tastes, coffee shop atmospheres, and services. We all had different experiences, which we enjoyed, but did not find the right shop in Saudi. So we decided to research what makes a cup of coffee great and began our small roasting efforts till we were able to achieve what we think is delicious and fresh coffee. Then we decided to share our passionate of coffee with everyone by opening our coffee shop.

What is your secret to the perfect cup of coffee?

We can write you pages about this subject, yet to put it in the simplest terms: attention to details and passion in every step of the process. This will make anything perfect and just a cup of coffee.

What’s your absolute favourite kind of beans?

It changes with type of coffee we feel like drinking. Yemeni Coffee for cold brew is amazing. For a pure espresso shot Layth loves the Haitian coffee; whereas I prefer Brazilian beans. For drip/brewed coffee, the Mexican beans is still a favourite, even though I lean towards the Yemeni at times.

If you were stuck on an island and you could only choose 3 things to take with you, what would it be?

  1. A boat
  2. Fuel for the boat
  3. A mug of coffee for the ride back from the island

If you had to choose between Nespresso and Starbucks, which of the evils would you go with?

Starbucks. Because they started a good initiative for coffee plantation owners.

What kind of brewing methods do you prefer?

Hassan: Cold brew, I love our new drink “Breeze” that is made with Yemeni beans and cold brewed for hours.

Layth: I often lean towards cappuccino in the morning, a brewed coffee in the afternoon, and an espresso in the evening.

Abdullah: I love lattes J 

Are there any unique drinks on your menu that stands out?

Well we mentioned the “breeze” that is made with cold brew; there is also the “4 oz” which is our unique version of a Cortado but with a heavier texture. And now that rainy season is coming, we cannot forget about the European hot chocolate that is made with real chocolate bars. And for all the people who do not feel like staying up all night we have vanilla infused hot milk that we call “White Foam”.

Where do you import your coffee beans from?

The main country would be Yemen, though we import from all over the world.

How is the recent rise in coffee prices going to affect business?

The price rise at the moment mainly affects our imported roasted coffee. The coffee we roast ourselves is more stable at this time due to previous stocks we bought.

Do you offer varying caffeine concentrations?

This is a wide subject. The short answer is yes.

What is the relationship between coffee beans toasting processing with respect to coffee concentration?

The darker the roast, the less caffeine it has. Yet when we talk about concentration then it is more about the preparation method than the roasting. For example, a shot of espresso would have the same amount of caffeine as a brewed cup of coffee if made with the same bean, yet beans for brewed coffee are usually less roasted, and hence have more caffeine in them.

One thing you’d add to your café if you had infinite funds.

A dragon.

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