Arabic coffee

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This article is about methods of preparation of a drink. For the species of coffee plant, see Coffea arabica.

Arabic coffee (Arabic: قهوة عربية‎‎) is a general name that refers to the two main ways coffee is prepared in many Arab countries. Coffee originates from the Arabian peninsula. In the coffee, Cardamom is often added, or it is served plain قهوة سادة qahwah sādah (lit. "plain coffee").

Arab coffee in a small cup

Arabic coffee, or ‘‘Al-Qahwa’’ (Arabic: قهوة‎‎, qahwah, locally gahwah or g'hawah), is made from coffee beans roasted very lightly or heavily from 165 to 210 °C (329 to 410 °F) and cardamom, and is a traditional beverage in Arabian culture. Traditionally, it is roasted on the premises (at home or for special occasions), ground, brewed and served in front of guests. It is often served with dates, dried fruit, candied fruit or nuts. This brewing method is common in Najd and Hijaz, and sometimes other spices like saffron (to give it a golden color), cloves, and cinnamon. Some people add a little evaporated milk to slightly alter its color; however, this is rare. It is served from a special coffee pot called dallah (Arabic: دلة‎‎) and the coffee cups are small with no handle called fenjan. The portions are small, covering just the bottom of the cup. It is served in homes, and in good restaurants by specially clad waiters called gahwaji, and it is almost always accompanied with dates. It is always offered with the compliments of the house. It is also offered at most social events like weddings and funerals.

Arabic coffee is usually served just a few centilitres at a time. The waiter/host serves the guest just enough to cover the bottom of the cup. Usually the coffee is boiling hot, so larger amounts would take too long to cool to a drinkable temperature. The guest drinks it and if he wishes, he will gesture to the waiter not to pour any more. Otherwise the host/waiter will continue to serve another few centilitres at a time until the guest indicates he has had enough. The most common practice is to drink only one cup, since serving coffee serves as a ceremonial act of kindness and hospitality. Sometimes people also drink larger volumes during conversations.

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