general info WHY IS COFFEE IMPORTANT IN UAE?
Why Is Coffee Important In UAE?
Updated on 03 April 2019

By: Salamah Ghudayer

The Emirati Coffee tradition; called Qahawa is a tradition from bean to refreshment served sip by sip in little handless cups. Our beans are only slightly roasted, over a fire, cardamom and saffron are added and the noise of the mortar and pestle announces to all, fresh coffee and conversation is being welcomed. Served not by the host or hostess but a standing server to not interrupt the majlis conversation; communication is done by a movement of the cup; a twist - you are done, a lift - you want more. 

When the coffee is prepared in the traditional way, not the quicker method some houses must use now to just ‘get it done,’ the taste is different; everything is different. It’s almost indescribable, but an experience that must be witnessed. So integral, the United Nations has protected it for UAE as an intangible asset. Imagine, you are a guest, coming toward a home you will visit. First the slight scent of a fire passes across your face. “They have roasted the beans and are boiling the water over the fire,” you think to yourself. Ding-dingling-ding-dingaling; your ears catch the sharp then light sounds of the mortar and pestle from the brass accessories which keep the heat of the hot beans. Once you reach within sight of the home, you can smell the cardamom and something else, but you know it is saffron, as they are mingled with the hot beans being crushed and the rich spicy perfume of the mixture arises to your senses as you walk forward. Into the boiling water you see the mixture goes; bubbles boil up to the top once, then twice, then it’s strained into a della that can be held easier than the one now sitting over the fire and all just in time as you greet your hostess nose to burqa, and sit down on a cushion. Off to the side you notice another neighbour lady is headed over. She heard and smelled the welcome and has come to share her news and listen to ours. The majlis has begun. 

At the risk of sounding similar to the father in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ coffee is Arab. There are too kinds of coffee beans; the more bitter Robusta and deeper Arabica. Robusta was initially grown in Africa and Arabica in the mountainous regions of Yemen; but Arabica came first; one hundred years at least prior to Robusta. This original coffee region though is only spilt by the narrow Red Sea, yet conditions on both sides; soil and weather produce quite different tastes. How then, does the world think coffee is the product of Latin America? In the 1800’s there was a migration of Arabs to South America and it is the same time, Brazil got its first coffee plantation. Historian’s will say it was French people who brought the plants; but the time period and history speaks for itself; that and there are more people of Lebanese descent in Brazil than in Lebanon. Columbia though is the famous land of coffee you say? Though Columbia too has a giant population of Arabs, the earliest reported coffee plant there was just a decade earlier than Brazil, brought by religious priests of the Jesuit order which was founded in Spain; where who ruled until the “rise of the west” in the 16th century when the order was founded; the Arab Caliphs for over seven hundred years. 

Coming back to the Emirates and our coastal nation; coffee was sometimes the only thing to serve a guest. Water we could get and some coffee beans can be stretched a long way for the light-colored refreshment which can satisfy the stomach with its warmth. The huge buffets of today were unseen in the childhood of the middle-aged Emirati. Their parents as well know of even harsher economic times; including even the household of the late Sheikh Zayed, when famously their dwindling stores of food was shared with the community without hesitation. So, coffee turned into something beyond what it seems. Its preparation was an invitation sent by scent and sound. Hospitality was being served and the most valued commodity of all; meaningful human connection.

Share this page!
COMMENTS
MORE ON general info

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

A set of guidelines have been announced confirming the requirements for wearing a mask in public areas and when outside of the house, for different age groups.

Increased restrictions on movement have been announced in Abu Dhabi, and for one week from today, Tuesday 2 June, travel in and out of Abu Dhabi will not be allowed.

Despite movement restrictions and social distancing, six UAE based athletes smashed the Guinness World Records for the most chest to ground burpees in a 24 hour period.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention, (MoHAP) has issued some brief advice on the benefits of wearing masks and the type of masks to use.

The fuel prices for June 2020 have been announced which sees no increase or decrease in the cost of a litre of petrol and diesel from May, and prices remain the same for the third month in a row.

As part of Dubai Government’s decision from 27 May to increase business activity across the emirate, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has announced that from 1 June, museums in Dubai will start to open in a phased manner.

As part fo the continuing easing of measures in place to contain the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, Dubai Municipality has announced  certain parks and pubic beaches are now open.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Ministry of Interior, and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority have jointly announced that the National Disinfection Programme will be carried out between 10pm amd 6am

The construction of 13 bridges at a major Dubai interchange has been completed. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced that roads and bridges leading to the Dubai Hills Mall project at the interchange between Umm Suqeim Street

First Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  ... Next Last 
FEATURED
A 'must do' when in Dubai.
The Dubai Fountain was designed by California-based WET, the creators of the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, and is 275 metres long with five circles and two central arcs. Over
Unveiled in February 2010, the Burj Khalifa stands 828 metres high - 320 metres taller than Taipei 101 which held the record since 2004. The Burj Khalifa currently holds seven records, including the highest occupied
Since its opening in December 1999, the Burj Al Arab has been one of the most photographed structures in the world. Sometimes referred to as "the world's most luxurious hotel
The UAE is surrounded by two bodies of water, both offering different diving experiences. Dubai is good for shipwrecks, which are home to Barracuda, Snappers and Jacks, with common
Take a magic carpet ride across rolling red sand dunes, with an amazing bird's eye view of the untouched desert below.
HAPPENINGS
Are you missing travelling and exploring new places? Even with us being confined to our homes, you can still keep discovering new places through complimentary virtual tours arranged by digital platform Google Arts and Culture.
If you are expecting a quiet month with not much else to do other than some me-time, then think again. The calendar this month is packed full of things for everyone to do. There are things for everyone from music lovers, fitness fans, foodies, art.
Do you love food and more food? Then this is for you. Etisalat Beach Canteen, part of Dubai Food Festival, is back for daily from 8pm onwards until 14 March. The food carnival is on Jumeriah Beach
Top things to do in Dubailand, Motor City, Sport City and Green Community
Top things to do in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), Emirates Living, Jebel Ali, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
Top things to do in Al Barsha, Barsha Heights and Al Quoz
Top things to do in Downtown Dubai, DIFC, Business Bay, Al Meydan and Dubai Design District
Top things to do in Jumeirah 1,2,3, Beach Road, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim, Al Sufouh, Palm Jumeirah
Top things to do in Sheikh Zayed Road, 2nd of December Street and Al Satwa
Top things to do in Bur Dubai, Karama, Al Mankhool, Al Jaddaf and Oud Metha
Top things to do in Deira, Garhoud and Al Muteena.
Dubai stands in line with cities like Paris, Milan, London and New York, so you can never be bored of this city. There are a million of things to see, try, and taste!
And you won't be disappointed.
Your little ones will thank you.
INSTAGRAM
FOLLOW
Discover Dubai
Stay Connected - Drop us your email.