Arabic Coffee Recipe (Qahwa)

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

Love your coffee? You haven’t lived until you’ve tried this light, aromatic and spiced up Arabic coffee!

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

What is Arabic Coffee?

Arabic Coffee, or qahwa, 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.

It’s usually served without sugar as it’s always accompanied by something sweet to nibble on. However, you can please yourself with this.

The word qahwa simply means coffee in Arabic, and if truth be told, there are many variations to Arabic Qahwa. Some are the dark, and foamy, like Turkish coffee, and then you have the one we are making today, pale Arabic Qahwa with cardamom and saffron. It depends on where in the Middle East you happen to be and also who’s making it for you!

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!

Dallah (Arabic Coffee Pot)

Arabic coffee is traditionally made on the stove top in a dallah or in a stovetop kettle, then poured into a dallah, before being served in little thimble like cups called finjaan.

You don’t have to have a dallah and finjaan to enjoy qahwa though. Use whatever you have, and serve them in the smallest cups or glass you have. Espresso cups will be perfect for this.

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

Arabic Coffee Recipe

It’s a very easy recipe to make. You don’t need an Arabic qahwa pot, just use a small saucepan or milk pan to make it. A Turkish ibrik works well too. This is what we’ll be doing:

  1. Warm the coffee pot you’ll be serving it from.
  2. Simmer the ground coffee for 10 minutes.
  3. Add spices and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  4. Strain the coffee into a coffee pot.
  5. Stir in rose water. Allow everyone to add sugar if they want it.

The Ingredients

  • Green Arabic coffee beans
  • Water
  • Cardamom
  • Saffron
  • Clove
  • Rose Water

Arabic Coffee Beans

Arabic coffee beans are only very lightly roasted, therefore, they still retain their green hue, as you can see from the image above. This results is 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.

Green, lightly roasted coffee beans should be available online, if you don’t have a Middle Eastern shop near you. Failing that, I know that unroasted beans are very easy to find, so get those, and lightly dry roast the beans in a frying pan yourself. I’ve done this many times. 5 minutes on medium-low heat will do.

The Spices

We use cardamom, clove and a pinch of saffron to make Arabic qahwa. Each lends a hint of spice, coming together to create a beautifully flavoured coffee.

When we are done with brewing our coffee, we finish it off with rose water, to add yet another layer of aroma. Rose water is usually found near vanilla and other flavourings in the baking aisle.

How to Serve it?

Arabic coffee can be served at any time of the day. My favourite way is at the end of a meal with dessert. It also often makes an appearance at tea time when I have guests.

And there you have it. If you love discovering new ways to drink your favourite brew, here’s one! Let me know what you think.

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

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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, clove and the saffron and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Take off heat and strain through a sieve into the EMPTY, warm coffee pot. Stir in the rose water.
  • 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
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
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8 thoughts on “Arabic Coffee Recipe (Qahwa)”

  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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