Arabic coffee is as traditional as the old shisha pipe. It seems everybody drinks it in this part of the world, and it is successfully exported to all coffee-drinking nations.
Despite not being much of a coffee or tea drinker myself, I have always noticed on the supermarket shelves coffee from far away places such as Ethiopia, Sumatra, and South America. It’s good to know that Arabic coffee (known as gahwa) holds it on in the popularity stakes against regional competitors.
The serving heat of the gahwa actually acts as a coolant to the natural body heat that anybody will endure in this part of the world. With temperatures regularly exceeding 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, you can understand that this is not just hot, but BOILING! So over the ages, traditional Arabic coffee serves as a necessary and almost-hourly drink for people in Arabic countries. Gahwa is said to contain a lot of antioxidants that aid digestion and provide “longevity”. I don’t know how this compares to the attributes of coffee from other parts of the world, but it sounds good to me!
I have long since noticed that Arabs do not react in the same way to heat as other people who are less accustomed to it. For example, they wear long gowns and headscarves which are part of Islamic Law, so they couldn’t walk around without them even if they wanted to (especially not women). So in this regard, the consumption of gahwa is not surprising.
I couldn’t miss the chance to experience some gahwa when travelling around the Arab World. I can remember sipping on some gahwa at Souq Waqif and also some less authentic gahwa at the Dubai Mall. I also tried some Turkish Tea during my travels in Istanbul, and how do they compare? Well, actually, I may prefer the taste of the tea slightly more than gahwa, as the latter is more of an acquired taste, but everybody will have a different opinion!
Whatever your tipple, it’s always good to know that different regions have their own customs and ingredients!