How is Arabic Coffee Made?

The Recipe: Arabian Coffee

The History

Arabian coffee is made from a species of Coffea canephora, which is a species of a flowering plant and commonly known as Robusta coffee. It has its origins in western and central sub-Saharan Africa. Arabic coffee is also known as “mountain coffee” and “Coffea arabica”. Arabica coffee was first discovered in Yemen and documented by the 12th century. It is a beverage that is widely enjoyed in Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and, of course, Yemen.

Arabic coffee is strong, spicy, and fragrant coffee due to the way it is roasted. It is typically roasted to a degree far less than other coffees are. As a result, it has less caffeine and water content, which gives it its yellowish color. Because it is traditionally prepared and served unsweetened, Arabic coffee is often served with dates to downplay any bitterness.

The most common spice used in Arabic coffee is cardamom, which is either ground along with the coffee or cooked along with it. Cloves and saffron may also be used. By the way, some people confuse Arabic coffee with Turkish coffee. However, Turkish coffee rarely contains cardamom or other spices.

When thinking in terms of making coffee, most people think about brewing it. However, there are as many ways of making it as there are those who enjoy drinking it. Arabic coffee is typically boiled in a traditional pot, which is a unique coffee pot that is wide at the bottom and narrows at the top. Still, it can also be prepared in a standard pot on the stove. For reference, Arabic coffee is usually ground, brewed, and served in front of family and guests from a dallah or finjan. These are terms used to describe the pot that Israelis use for making coffee. They range in size and are popularly made out of stainless steel.


The Preparation

To prepare Arabic coffee, one takes lightly roasted coffee beans and finely grinds them and any additional spices and adds the coffee directly to boiling water in the finjan.

Arabic Coffee Ingredients

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup dark coffee beans (ground)
  • 6-8 cardamom pods (ground)

Bring the water in the pot to a boil before adding dry, ground ingredients. Then, bring back to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the coffee for approximately 10-15 minutes before removing from the heat entirely. The pot is then allowed to sit for a few minutes to allow the grounds to settle to the bottom. If the spices were not already added during the grinding process, they could be added at this point, and the coffee can be brought back to a boil before serving. If preferred, the coffee can be strained before serving.

Arabic coffee is traditionally served from the dallah or finjan into small cups that have no handles. Only up to one-third of the cup is filled with the steaming beverage at a time. It is not unusual to refill the cup many times while visiting with others.

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