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Qatar National Tourism Council reveals 10 surprising facts about Arabic coffee

October 16, 2020 Visit Middle East / Dubai No Comments Email Email

Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) has revealed 10 surprising facts about  “Qahwa” Arabic coffee and its rich history, providing an inside perspective on the centuries-old traditions and rituals that have made Arabic coffee world-famous.

“Qahwa” Arabic coffee plays a pivotal role within Qatari hospitality, including how to welcome and entertain guests and coffee lovers. When pouring the beverage there are important traditions to uphold, from the equipment used, to the standing position beside the guest, even the order guests are served is an important consideration.

Traditions such as the drinking and socialising of “Qahwa” Arabic coffee play a fundamental role in maintaining Qatar’s rich history and culture, while ensuring guests enjoy the authentic experience of Middle Eastern hospitality.

10 facts you never knew about Arabic Coffee and its traditions:

  1. We can thank goats for the discovery of coffee: According to legend, a goat herder, Kaldi, observed his goats eating certain beans and watched them become more energetic which lead to the discovery of coffee beans being used as an energising beverage
  2. Cultural manners: It’s considered impolite to refuse a cup of Arabic coffee offered by a Qatari and signifies that guests may be there for something more than socialising. Coffee is always served from a traditional coffee pot known as a ‘dallah’ and poured in the ‘finjaan’ (delicate cup) in the right hand of the guests. It must always be drunk from the right hand and never filled to the top as this is considered an insult
  3. It’s much more than just coffee: Arabic coffee is boiled, filtered and usually brewed with cardamom. Its strength and colour vary and saffron is added to give it a paler, golden colour. Cloves and cinnamon are also sometimes added for extra flavour
  4. You have not finished until you jiggle: If guests have finished their coffee and don’t want any more, they need to jiggle their finjaan up towards the side, otherwise they will keep getting topped up – three is the favoured number of cups to drink
  5. Age is not just a number: At a gathering, the youngest person (15 years or above) in the room will serve the coffee
  6. Right to left: Coffee is always served from the right side of the gathering, the only exception is if there is an important person in attendance, in which case they would be served first
  7. Health: The consumption of the beverage is believed to minimise the start of illnesses such as dementia, Type II Diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it is also suggested that it can help prevent some forms of cancer when taken in moderation(1)
  8. 80% of global beans consumed are Arabica: The Arabica coffee bean is farmed in tropical climates at an altitude between 1,200 – 1,500 metres and makes up approximately 80% of global coffee bean production due to its unique taste, high quality and aroma
  9. There is a coffee championship: Coffee is a serious business! Last year, Qatar hosted its first Barista Championship where some of the country’s best baristas locked horns to be crowned the ultimate latte art champion and get the rare chance to be trained in the prestigious MUMAC Academy in Italy
  10. Dates are the perfect accompaniment: To complement the bitter flavour, coffee is usually enjoyed with something sweet. Dates are the traditional accompaniment, with other desserts often served along with a tray of coffee cups

Qatar’s love for coffee means the country has fully embraced the ‘café culture’ with unique offerings springing up almost every week. In the country’s capital city, Doha, there is always a coffee shop within 200 metres. Whether it’s enjoying a cup at the top of the 50 floor Torch Hotel; overlooking the city on the banks of the Arabian sea; relaxing at the Museum of Islamic Art; or nestled in a vibrant café at Souq Waqif – Qatar is sure to serve it.

Five local hotspots to enjoy coffee in Qatar:

  • Flat White Specialty Coffee
  • Café 42
  • Halo Café
  • Harvest Coffee
  • Gastronomy Café

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