Arabic Coffee

Arabic coffee is a version of coffee made from Coffea arabica beans. Most Arab countries in the Middle East have developed distinct methods for making and brewing coffee. Cardamom is a spice often added, but can alternatively be served plain or with sugar.

Total stores showing: 3

Arabic coffee, or Gahwa as they are colloquially called, is the favorite recreational drink of the Arabs. Although the term Arab coffee also includes Turkish coffee, Gahwa is specifically coffee made according to Arab traditions. Gahwa has been popular in the Arabian Peninsula for hundreds of years.

Names vary more depending on dialects. In Egypt, it is pronounced astonishment, changing “qa” into a glottal stop. In some Arabic-speaking countries, it is Gahweh.

Gahwa is usually made from Arabica coffee beans, which account for 80% of world coffee production.

History of Arabic Coffee

Legend has it that coffee was first discovered by Arabian shepherds. Their goats, which chewed certain berries, proved to be more active. Later, the Arabs began using them to make energy drinks.

The culture of Arab coffee is preceded by that of the West for centuries. In fact, the English word “coffee” itself was derived from “koffie” in Dutch, which came from the Turkish “kahve”, which in turn has its roots in the Arabic word qahwah.

According to UNESCO, Gahwa has its origins in the Arabian Peninsula. Underlining the importance of preserving these traditions, in 2015 UNESCO added Arabian Coffee and Majlis to its list of intangible cultural heritage.

How to make Arabic Coffee?

Before you start, you need these things to make coffee.

A fire stove.

For the best Arabic coffee, fresh grinding is essential. So get a grinder. Even a mortar and pestle is usable, but it means a little more work.

A vessel with which to prepare.

Serving cups. It is traditionally served in small cups without handles.

Good quality coffee beans.

Although spices are not necessary, this is usually done. Depending on your taste, you can add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, saffron, etc.

The taste of coffee is largely dictated by the roast of the beans, along with its freshness and quality. The degree of frying varies from region to region. It can be light, medium, or dark. In the United Arab Emirates, coffee is made with lightly roasted beans.

Because the coffee is served unfiltered, grinding the beans into fine particles is essential to make it drinkable. So, if you grind by hand, spend enough time and effort to do them well.

Now that everything is ready, the next is the most important part; brewing.

Prepare the coffee powder and spices

For an excellent cup of coffee, the quality of the beans and the fineness of the soil are essential. Grind the beans into an extremely fine powder. One serving (about 60 ml) requires a tablespoon of coffee powder. Grind the spices into a fine powder and keep them separate from the coffee powder.

Heat the water

Fill water in Dallah and boil it. When the water boils, remove it from the stove and let it cool for about 30 seconds.

Add Arabic Coffee Gahweh

Put the coffee powder in Dallah and heat it again without mixing the contents. Once the water starts to boil again, lower the flame and let it boil for 10 minutes. When you see the foam rising to the top, remove the pot from the stove.

Add the Spices

Now add the ground spice mixture to Dallah and put it back on the fire. Heat until foam forms on top.

Serve the Arabic Coffee

Allow the coffee to stand still to allow the foam to disappear and the grind to settle to the bottom of the pot.

Okay, you’re ready to serve now. Serve the coffee to the finjan through a strainer. Traditionally, coffee is served without sugar, but it’s not bad if you lightly sweeten the coffee if you want. But, milk and cream are definitely a no-no.

Coffee is brewed after adding sugar and spices, rather than adding them later. So don’t forget to specify your preferences before cooking. Also, sip slowly to avoid taking the ground with coffee.

The right way to serve Gahwa

Drinking coffee in Khaleej is more of a social affair than anything else. Gahwa is an inevitable part of family gatherings, business meetings, and Arab Majlises. And their preparation and service are art.

The person serving coffee to the guests is called Muqahwi. A Muqahwi should be mature and at least 15 years old so that he does not spill coffee on guests and can interact gracefully with them. He must hold the coffee pot (Dallah) in his left hand and the Finns in his right.

In a Majlis or gathering, coffee is first served to the most important person around, such as a religious scholar or a sheikh. Then the person to his right is served and so on. When the guest had had enough coffee, he would gently shake the Finjaan to show Muqhawi that he was done.

In Middle Eastern culture, drinking with the left hand is considered rude. You should also use your right hand to receive coffee. Dates and sweets are often served with Gahwa.

Arabic Majlis

We can’t miss Arab Majlises when it comes to Arab coffee. Gahwa is ubiquitous in every Majlis in the Arab world. Majlis literally means a council or an assembly. They have been part of Arab customs and a sign of their hospitality for thousands of years. These gatherings are usually led by tribal chiefs or scholars and are held in large rooms with coffee facilities.

Majlises helped build social ties and were the places to find solutions to problems. The Arabs have kept this custom alive until now. They also served the purpose of educating young people about socialization and leadership. It is common for those who attend Majlis to wear traditional clothes.

Health benefits of Arabic Coffee

Arabic coffee is initially served with little or no sugar. But, depending on one’s taste, sugar can be added. And for this reason, Arabica coffee is usually low in calories. Moreover, spices have many health benefits. But because of the caffeine content, it should not be taken in excess.

The more roasted the coffee beans, the lower the caffeine content. The variety of spices in Arabic coffee enriches it with antioxidants that prevent infections and diseases.

How is Arabic Coffee different from Turkish Coffee?

The term Arabic coffee also includes Turkish coffee. But Gahwa Arabi is different from Turkish coffee in some minor ways.

Both coffees are served without milk or cream and are made with freshly ground beans. Apart from pots and coffee habits, the significant difference is that cardamom is not used in Turkish coffee. Arabica coffee usually contains cardamom along with other spices.

Both Arabic and Turkish coffee can be sweetened and made from beans of different origins and roasted to varying degrees.

Where to find Arabic Coffee

There are many restaurants and cafés serving Gahwa. There are even special places dedicated to the region’s coffee heritage in the UAE. The Dubai Coffee Museum and the Bait Al Gahwa in Abu Dhabi are just two of them.

The best option to enjoy a traditionally brewed Arabic coffee is to go on a desert safari. In addition to coffee, they allow you to explore the local Bedouin lifestyle and take part in some of the most amazing desert activities.