Taste of Qatari hospitality: traditional Arabic coffee

October 05, 2022 / 9:15 AM
Sharjah24 – AFP: With its strong aroma of cardamom and its yellowy, tea-like consistency, Arabic coffee is a ubiquitous symbol of hospitality across Gulf countries, not least in World Cup host Qatar.
Prepared by roasting coffee beans then boiling them with cardamom and saffron, the traditional "gahwa" is usually enjoyed in the Qatari majlis -- the all-male gathering that forms the centrepiece of social life in the country.

As custom dictates, the hot drink is prepared in front of guests by the head of the household and served by his eldest son.

But in more recent years, the beverage has spilt beyond its traditional confines, making its way into commercial establishments and cultural houses, offering a taste of Qatari culture to residents and visitors alike.

One such independent cultural centre is Embrace Doha, where Perera attended a session on the coffee and its origins.

- Ritual and ceremony -
Since the introduction of coffee to the region around 600 years ago, it has acquired its own ritual and ceremony, now integral to the culture of the country and region.

Poured out of golden or silver "dallah" pots, it is consumed out of little cups that are only ever partially filled to avoid burning drinkers' fingers.

The coffee keeps coming until the drinker makes a certain waving gesture to indicate that he has had enough -- a vestige of an era when it was often poured by deaf servers to prevent sensitive information from leaking out of the majlis.

In 2015, an initiative by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar saw Arabic coffee enter the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

According to UNESCO, "serving Arabic coffee is an important aspect of hospitality in Arab societies and considered a ceremonial act of generosity".
October 05, 2022 / 9:15 AM

Related Topics

More on this Topic

Rotate For an optimal experience, please
rotate your device to portrait mode.