Arabic Qahwa (Arabic Coffee) with Cardamom, Saffron and Rose Water

Arabic Qahwa or Arabic Coffee, is a very light coffee made with light roasted coffee beans that are still green, and with lots of cardamom.
Arabic Qahwa Coffee
Arabic Qahwa Coffee

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Arabic Qahwa Coffee, to me, is definitely one of the more “exotic” coffees found in the Middle East. It is very light, and has a touch of green to it, because, well, it’s made with green, lightly roasted coffee beans.

The word qahwa simply means coffee in Arabic, and if truth be told, there are many variations to Arabic Qahwa, from the dark, almost Turkish coffee type, to our very light, and pale Arabic Qahwa with Cardamom and Saffron of today. It depends on where in the Middle East you happen to be and also who’s making it for you!

Arabic coffee is traditionally made on the stove top in a dallah or in a stovetop kettle, then poured into a dallah, the coffee pot you see in the images above and served in little thimble like cups called finjaan. It is still an acquired taste though, especially to those of us brought up on lattes and mochas! But with all those added aromas and flavours, you’ll soon be hooked!

A mug of Arabic Qahwa Coffee
A mug of Arabic Qahwa Coffee

The beans used are usually lightly roasted, still retaining their green hue. This results in a lighter coloured coffee that doesn’t taste like any coffee you’ve ever had in the Western world! In many homes, the beans are usually ground by hand, I use a coffee mill for this, grinding the cardamom seeds at the same time. Yes, cardamom! However, if you’re not up to all that, go for a coarse ground light roast Arabica beans. Nothing that says Robusto!

Arabic coffee is usually served without sugar as it’s always accompanied by something sweet to nibble on, but in my experience, a little sugar for your guests is always appreciated!

The coffee is boiled for about 10-15 minutes over a low flame in the dallah, as mentioned, but you can just use a milk/small saucepan or if you have a Turkish Ibrik, use that.

The coffee is then filtered into a thermos type coffee pot where it remains hot while your guests enjoy their delicious aromatic Arabic coffee.

If you fancy more Middle Eastern and north African recipes, both food and drink, be sure to check out the page here for recipes like:

Let’s get our aprons on!

If you like the recipe and article, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! 😉 Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

Arabic Coffee

Arabic Qahwa or Arabic Coffee, is a very light coffee made with light roasted coffee beans that are still green, and with lots of cardamom.
4.95 from 52 votes
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: coffee
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 33kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 500 ml water
  • 3 Tbsp ground light roast coffee or 4 Tbsp beans to grind fresh
  • 1 Tbsp cardamoms coarsely ground
  • 1 clove
  • small pinch saffron
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • sugar as needed nutritional info is based on 2 tsp per person


  • Whichever coffee pot you are using to serve, fill it up with hot water to warm it up. Don’t forget to empty it before trying to pour the Arabic coffee in!
  • Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan, ibrik or stovetop kettle.
  • Add coffee, bring back to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add cardamom and clove and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Take off heat, add the rose water, stir, then strain through a sieve into the EMPTY coffee pot.
  • Serve immediately, as mentioned, with something sweet and filling the cups only halfway up.


Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

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8 thoughts on “Arabic Qahwa (Arabic Coffee) with Cardamom, Saffron and Rose Water”

  1. Recently been making some truly luscious
    Persian Recipes :
    Kabobs Marinade Yoghurt / Saffron
    Filet Mignon. Heavenly
    Have Been Adding Rosewater & Saffron
    To Strong Black. Delicious!!!
    Today Put Saffron Pinch Into A
    Creamy Iced Espresso
    Heaven ‼️‼️‼️❣️

  2. Martin Rodgers

    I’m not sure about this. Doesn’t the coffee overpower the saffron and wouldn’t the coffee taste better if not using boiling water?

    1. Hi Martin. The coffee used here is the very light roast type and hence isn’t as overpowering. When making regular coffee, I use water off the boil, but this Arabic coffee is as much a ritual as it is a recipe. Boiling the coffee is the traditional way of making this recipe, and don’t forget, the practically green coffee beans don’t carry much weight in terms of flavour and aroma. I’ve been meaning to upload a picture of the beans and a video, will get on it soon.

  3. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful recipe from my country. You have made it so perfectly.

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