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!
MORE ON general info

International superstar Bruno Mars will be performing in Abu Dhabi on New Year's Eve. The Grammy award winning performer is bringing his tour to the capital as part of the New Year's Eve Resolution by Night festival. For almost a decade, the singer

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has issued a new law related to Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).Dubai Land Department (DLD) will replace RERA in

The famous ‘Orange Couch’ from the world popular cafe ‘Central Perk’ can be spotted in The Dubai Mall. The most iconic sitcom series in the history of television Friends is celebrating it's 25th anniversary, and Dubai is marking this occasion in

There is no doubt that the UAE has has become a role model for development in the region and beyond, and in order to keep standards improving His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has opened new sections of the Al Yalayis and Al Asayel Streets Improvement Project. Al Yalayis Street connects Sheikh Zayed Road with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road. The new street

Life will be far easier for calorie conscious residents once the new Nutrition Labelling Policy comes into effect Approved by the UAE Cabinet, the new policy will now also require manufacturers to have colour-coded nutritional labels on all food

Are you a fan of a great sunrise? Well now you can watch the dawn of a new day and the glorious and pristine scenery of a Dubai sunrise, when the sky turns into a beautiful colour palette of red and orange, from one of the highest vantage points

Following the action taken by some of the International airlines around the world, regional carriers including Emirates, Flydubai and Etihad have also put restrictions on carrying certain models of Apple MacBook Pro. The restrictions were announced

There is another opportunity for budding artists to showcase their talent to a wide audience and also stand a chance to win a cash prize at the same time. The Waterfront Market and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority have joined forces for a second

At nine minutes and nine seconds passed nine (09:09:09) on the evening of 9 September 2009 (9/09/09), 10 years ago today, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated

First Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  ... Next Last 
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.
So what's your plans ths week? Work, work and more work? It doesn't have to be though as Dubai is once again offering lots of different things for everyone to do. Whether you want to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, watch one of the children's
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 Deira, Garhoud and Al Muteena.
Top things to do in Bur Dubai, Karama, Al Mankhool, Al Jaddaf and Oud Metha
Top things to do in Sheikh Zayed Road, 2nd of December Street and Al Satwa
Top things to do in Al Barsha, Barsha Heights and Al Quoz
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 Dubailand, Motor City, Sport City and Green Community
Travelling through Dubai International Airport (DXB) gets even more exciting, as travellers will soon be able to watch local and international musicians and DJs performing live for them, and the best thing is it’s free to watch. DXB becomes the
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.
Discover Dubai
Stay Connected - Drop us your email.