Arabic coffee

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Arabic coffee
A dallah a traditional Arabic coffee pot with cups and coffee beans.jpg
A dallah is a traditional Arabic coffee pot with cups and coffee beans
Alternative names "Qahwah arabiyya"
Type Coffea arabica
Course Drink
Place of origin Yemen
Region or state Arab World
Associated national cuisine Arab cuisine
Invented 15th century
Serving temperature Hot
Cookbook: Arabic coffee  Media: Arabic coffee

Arabic coffee (Arabic: قهوة عربية‎‎; qahwah arabiyya Arabic pronunciation: [ˈqah.wa] Listen) refers to a flavorful version of the brewed coffee of Coffea arabica beans. Arabic coffee is grown at a height of 1000 to 2000 meters, and represents about 60-70% of the coffee industry in the world,[1][2] and is exceptional for taste and high quality. Most Arab countries throughout the Middle East have developed a unique method for brewing and preparing coffee. Cardamom is often added, or it is served plain قهوة سادة qahwah sādah (lit. "plain coffee").

Arabic coffee is a part of the habits and traditions of Arabs, as coffee originated in the Middle East, starting in Yemen and then to Mecca, Egypt, Levant, and then, in the mid-16th century, to Turkey.[3]. Arabic coffee is the most famous coffee in the Arab countries. In every Arab house, they have Arabic coffee with a distinctive flavor. In addition, Arab coffee is always served at the wedding and holidays and during the month of Ramadan.

There are different types of Arabic coffee that depend on the demand of people. Some of them are like light coffee, where some Arabs put the cardamom in the coffee. Moreover, there is also dark coffee. Arabic coffee is usually bitter and there is no added sugar and served in a small cup. In addition, Arabic coffee benefits and disadvantages in human health. One of the benefits is that coffee contains caffeine, which is energizing the nervous system and helps to drowsiness and gives the energy. One of the damage affects human health in many ways such as hypertension also it increases the heart rate.

Arabic coffee is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab states confirmed by UNESCO.[4]


Arab women (coffee bearer) by John Frederick Lewis (1857). in Cairo, Egypt)

In turn, the Arabic qahwah be an origin,[5] The word qahwah may have originally referred to the drink's reputation as an appetite suppressant from the word qahiya قَهِيَ, "to lack hunger").[6][7] The name qahwah is not used for the berry or plant (the products of the region), which are known in Arabic as bunn. Semitic had a root qhh "dark color", which became a natural designation for the beverage. According to this analysis, the feminine form qahwah (also meaning "dark in color, dull(ing), dry, sour") also had the meaning of wine, which was also often dark in color.[8]


The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century, in Yemen's Sufi monasteries.[3] Sufis used it to keep themselves alert during their nighttime devotions. A translation of Al-Jaziri's manuscript[9] traces the spread of coffee from Arabia Felix (the present day Yemen) northward to Mecca and Medina, and then to the larger cities of Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, and Constantinople. In 1511, it was forbidden for its stimulating effect by conservative, orthodox imams at a theological court in Mecca.[10] However, these bans were to be overturned in 1524 by an order of the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Suleiman I, with Grand Mufti Mehmet Ebussuud el-İmadi issuing a fatwa allowing the consumption of coffee.[11] In Cairo, Egypt, a similar ban was instituted in 1532, and the coffeehouses and warehouses containing coffee beans were sacked.[12]

Arab society[edit]

A painting of Zahir al-Umar was the virtually autonomous Palestinian Arab ruler of northern Palestine in the mid-18th century, at the side Arabic coffee

Arabic coffee has played a pivotal role in the consolidation of Arab social life, as its councils are said to be schools. Arabic coffee has also contributed to the crystallization of the components of the Arab behavioral system as a symbol of this system. Coffee cups, which may not exceed a few points of bitter taste, and that can overcome the rivalries and the resolution of disputes, and for it may be wars or end, and so the speech of women, and the transgression of revenge, and waiver of rights. It is a positive tool not only in stimulating thought but also as a symbolic medium in promoting the values of generosity and hospitality. It also plays a vital and effective role in the social communication processes between individuals and groups. Arabic coffee is a symbol of generosity, pride and hospitality for the Arabs. It is a tribute to the visitor and has been respected by both its suppliers and its partners. It has resulted in a system of linguistic behavior that indicates the connotations that accompany the process and the ways of presenting it to the other throughout the day. Arabic coffee has entered the familiarities of everyday life, including popular beliefs.[13]


Arabic coffee, or ‘‘Al-Qahwa’’, ‘‘gahwah’’), 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 Arab culture.[14] 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.[15] Arabic coffee, is defined by the method of preparation and flavors, rather than the type or roast beans. Arabic coffee is boiled coffee that is not filtered, made black, and if sugar is added, it is added only during preparation. It is served in a small delicate cup without handles, called finjān. Sometimes, the coffee is moved to a larger and more beautiful pour pitcher to serve in front of the guests, called Della. Often, though, the host prepares coffee in the kitchen and highlights a tray of small cups of coffee.[16] Unlike its Turkish counterparts, traditional Arabic coffee, with its roots in Bedouin tradition, is usually unsweetened (qahwah saada), but sugar is occasionally added. However, this coffee is never sweet syrup, but rather strong and bitter. To make up for the bitter flavor, coffee is usually served with something sweet - dates are a traditional accompaniment - and other desserts are often served along with a tray of coffee cups.[15]

Kanaka also called rikwah or jezwah at Souq Waqif in Doha, Qatar.

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 prepared in and served from a special coffee pot called dallah (Arabic: دلة‎‎); more commonly used is the coffee pot called cezve (also called rikwah or kanaka) 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.

Arabian Peninsula[edit]

Arabs in the Gulf is also creative in the way they prepare coffee. Coffee is different from that in Egypt and Levant in terms of bitterness and the type of cups the coffee is served in.


A cup of Arabic coffee "qahwah sādah" (plain coffee) in Palestine

The hot beverage that Palestinians consume is coffee—served in the morning and throughout the day. The coffee of choice is usually Arabic coffee. Arabic coffee is similar to Turkish coffee, but the former is spiced with cardamom and is usually unsweetened.[17] Among Bedouins and most other Arabs throughout the region of Palestine, bitter coffee, known as qahwah sadah (Lit. plain coffee), was a symbol of hospitality. Pouring the drink was ceremonial; it would involve the host or his eldest son moving clockwise among guests—who were judged by age and status—pouring coffee into tiny cups from a brass pot. It was considered "polite" for guests to accept only three cups of coffee and then end their last cup by saying daymen, meaning "always", but intending to mean "may you always have the means to serve coffee".[18]

Arab Bedouin from a beehive village in Aleppo, Syria, sipping the traditional murra (bitter) coffee, 1930

The Lebanese people drink a lot of coffee like other Arabs. Some locals say that those who do not drink coffee will lose their nationality. Coffee drinking in Lebanon is mainly Arabic coffee. They are strong and often flavor with cardamom. Some people also add a few drops of orange blossom water. The Lebanese prefer very sweet coffee. In Lebanon, their coffee is prepared in a long-handled coffee pot called "rakwe". Coffee is poured directly from "rakwe" to "demitasse". The demitasse is a small cup. Such a cup has a capacity of 60-90 ml (2-3 oz fl). There is also a "white coffee". For the Lebanese is actually herbal tea prepared with orange blossom water. The white coffee is originally from Beirut. It is usually served after a meal with some mascara roses petals.

Drinks in Syria vary depending on the time of day and the occasion. Arabic coffee is the most well-known hot drink usually prepared in the morning at breakfast or in the evening. It is usually served for guests or after food.

Arabic coffee is much more than just a drink in Jordan - it is a traditional sign of respect and a way to bring people together. Black, cardamom-flavored Arabic coffee, also known as qahwah sādah (welcome coffee), deeply ingrained in Jordanian culture Providing coffee (and tea) to guests is a large part of the intimate hospitality of the Hashemite Kingdom.


A maqhah in Jerusalem during Ottoman rule in Palestine, 1858

Much of the popularization of coffee is due to its cultivation in the Arab world, beginning in what is now Yemen, by Sufi monks in the 15th century.[19] Through thousands of Arabs pilgrimaging to Mecca, the enjoyment and harvesting of coffee, or the "wine of Araby" spread to other Arab countries (e.g. Egypt, Syria) and eventually to a majority of the world through the 16th century. Coffee, in addition to being essential in the home, became a major part of social life.[20] Coffeehouses, qahwa قَهوة in Modern Standard Arabic, became "Schools of the Wise" as they developed into places of intellectual discussion, in addition to centers of relaxation and comradery.[21]


Coffeehouse in Cairo, 18th c.

Coffeehouse culture began in the Arab world, and eventually spread to other areas of the world and blended with the local culture.[22] Traditional Arab coffeehouses a places where mostly men meet to socialize over games, coffee, and water pipes (shisha or agriile). Depending on where the coffeehouse is, its specialty differs. In Maghreb, green tea is served with mint or coffee is served Arab and/or European style. Arabic coffee, or Turkish coffee, is made in Egypt and the Levant countries. Arabic coffee is a very small amount of dark coffee boiled in a pot and presented in a demitasse cup. Particularly in Egypt, coffee is served mazbuuta, which means the amount of sugar will be "just right", about one teaspoon per cup. However, in the Arabian Peninsula, Arabic coffee is roasted in such a way that the coffee is almost clear. In all of the Arab world, it is traditional for the host to refill the guest's cup until politely signaled that the guest is finished.[20]


Arabic coffee is usually served just a few centiliters 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.[14] 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.[23]


Arab women in Arab cothing with Arabic coffee

The cups are normally only filled partway, and the custom is to drink three cups.[24] Arabic coffee has a prominent place in traditional Arab holidays and special events such as Ramadan and Eid.


Arabic coffee reading (Arabic: قراءة الفنجان‎‎, qira'at al-fenjaan), is similar to tea-leaf reading; the client is asked to consume strong fresh Arabic coffee leaving approx. a teaspoon of liquid in the cup. The cup is then inverted onto a saucer to allowing the residual liquid to drain away. The reader will then interpret the patterns formed by the thick residue on the inside of the cup.[25]


In Arabic funerals gather families and extended relatives, who drink bitter and unsweetened coffee and restore the life and characteristics of the deceased., the men and women gather separately, it has become very fashionable to employ very presentable women whose only job is to serve coffee all day to the women. Male waiters serve the men. Arab Muslims and Christians share this tradition.[26]

Nutrition facts[edit]

A small cup of Arabic coffee has almost no calories or fat. It contains a small amount of protein.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Botanical Aspects". London: International Coffee Organization. Archived from the original on 24 March 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "1.2.5-World coffee trade-World production by type: arabica and robusta". 
  3. ^ a b Weinberg, Bennett Alan; Bealer, Bonnie K. (2001). The world of caffeine. Routledge. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-0-415-92723-9. 
  4. ^ "Arabic coffee, a symbol of generosity - intangible heritage - Culture Sector - UNESCO". Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "coffee, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1891.
  6. ^ Kaye, Alan (1986). "The Etymology of Coffee: The Dark Brew". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 106 (3): 557. doi:10.2307/602112. JSTOR 602112. 
  7. ^ قهي. الباحث العربي (in Arabic). Retrieved September 25, 2011. (see also qahiya: Hans Wehr's Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. page 930.)
  8. ^ Kaye, Alan S. (1986). "The etymology of "coffee": The dark brew". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 106 (3): 557–558. doi:10.2307/602112. JSTOR 602112. 
  9. ^ Al-Jaziri's manuscript work is of considerable interest with regards to the history of coffee in Europe as well. A copy reached the French royal library, where it was translated in part by Antoine Galland as De l'origine et du progrès du café.
  10. ^ "resource for arabic books". 
  11. ^ Schneider, Irene (2001). "Ebussuud". In Michael Stolleis (ed.). Juristen: ein biographisches Lexikon; von der Antike bis zum 20. Jahrhundert (in German) (2nd ed.). München: Beck. p. 193. ISBN 3-406-45957-9. 
  12. ^ J. E. Hanauer (1907). "About Coffee". Folk-lore of the Holy Land. pp. 291 f. [All] the coffee-houses [were] closed, and their keepers pelted with the sherds of their pots and cups. This was in 1524, but by an order of Selìm I., the decrees of the learned were reversed, the disturbances in Egypt quieted, the drinking of coffee declared perfectly orthodox 
  13. ^ "Coffee culture: savouring tradition in the UAE | The National". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  14. ^ a b "What makes Arabic coffee unique?". Your Middle East (in Swedish). Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  15. ^ a b "Gulf Arabic coffee - qahwa arabiyyah". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  16. ^ "How To Make Arabic Coffee". Terrace Restaurant & Lounge. 2015-03-01. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  17. ^ The rich flavors of Palestine Farsakh, Mai M. Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), (Originally published by This Week in Palestine) 2006-06-21 Accessed on 2007-12-18
  18. ^ A Taste of Palestine: Menus and Memories (1993). Aziz Shihab. Corona Publishing Co. p.5 ISBN 978-0-931722-93-6
  19. ^ Civitello, Linda (2007). Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. ISBN 9780471741725. 
  20. ^ a b Brustad, Kristen; Al-Batal, Mahmoud; Al-Tonsi, Abbas (2010). Alif Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds. Georgetown University Press. p. 132. ISBN 9781589016330. 
  21. ^ "The History Of Coffee". National Coffee Association of the U.S.A. October 24, 2016. 
  22. ^ S.,, Hattox, Ralph (2014-01-01). Coffee and Coffeehouses The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East. University of Washington Press. ISBN 0295805498. OCLC 934667227. 
  23. ^ "Arabic Coffee Service |". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  24. ^ "Arabic Coffee - A Welcoming Ritual". Cabin Crew Excellence. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  25. ^ "Jane - Fortune Teller | Middlesex| South East| UK - Contraband Events". Contraband Events. 
  26. ^ IMEU. "Palestinian Social Customs and Traditions | IMEU". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  27. ^ Cherney, Kristeen. "Arabic Coffee Nutrition Information". LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  28. ^ Tulsani, Manoj (2013-05-29). "5 Interesting Facts About Arabic Coffee". Travel Tips and Experience - Rayna Tours and Travels. Retrieved 2017-04-14.