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!
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: