The capital of the United Arab Emirates is no stranger in specialty coffee. Abu Dhabi is the home of barista Michael Secknant. In this interview, Michael outlines his recent journey in coffee, also providing an indication of what we can expect during the middle part of the decade.

When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?
I started my barista career 9th February 2020 after applying for a job vacancy on Indeed. The interview went well and now I have worked at four coffee shops in UAE.

What's the status of specialty coffee in Abu Dhabi?
Speciality coffee iis one of the most consumed beverage in the UAE, in particular in Abu Dhabi where this high demand. Sales still fluctuate at times due to competition and dynamics on the floor at the coffee shop.

What types of people are suited to working in coffee?
The people best qualified to work in coffee or deal in coffee are roasters, coffee scientist, coffee farmers, and baristas .

If someone is new to coffee and looking to start out, what would you recommend they start with?
According to the Speciality Coffee Association (SCA), it's required to give basic knowledge of speciality coffee standards to new joiners to the industry.

Are there some central blog posts or websites that you go to gain more knowledge, develop further skills?
The main website or search engine I advise beginners to go and gain more knowledge on speciality coffee is SCA’s website.

What's next for your career? What's on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
What's next for my career iS moving to another location like Europe, Australia or Germany to continue research on coffee science. That way I can continue to increase my income while pursuing my passion to the next level.

Find Michael on Instagram at @michael.secknant and at Manzil Downtown Lounge ( in Abu Dhabi