We all love a good cup of coffee, either white or black, mostly because of the energy boost and how alert it makes us. However, every coffee lover knows that different types of coffees have different tastes, smells, and even feel in the mouth.
As the coffee drinking culture has increased globally, many types of coffees and many ways to make them have emerged. One of the strongest coffees, both aromatically and taste wise is the Arabic coffee.
Arabic coffee is a type of coffee brewed from Coffea Arabica beans. If you have had one type of coffee for a long time and are looking for a change, Arabic coffee is worth trying.
It is naturally unsweetened and is relatively stronger than other types of coffee. Therefore, you are guaranteed to feel more alert and awake throughout the day.
There are two types of Arabic coffee, depending on the region where it was grown. The Peninsular Arabic coffee is grown in the peninsular region, which comprises Yemen, the UAE, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. It is also made using lightly roasted beans and is not very dark when brewed.
The Levantine Arabic coffee, on the other hand, is grown in the Levant region, which comprises Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria. This type of Arabic coffee is made using coffee beans that are more roasted than those used to make the Peninsular Arabic coffee.
While those two types may taste different and have different ways of preparation, what distinguishes Arabic coffee from other types of coffee around the world is not the bean. The degree of roast and how it is prepared is what sets it aside from other coffees.
The degree of roasting influences the coffee’s physical and chemical characteristics, which affect the caffeine content, color of the beans, and flavor. The beans that are roasted more have a lower water and caffeine content than those lightly roasted.
The color of the beans varies from brown to dark yellow.
History Of Arabic Coffee
When we hear about the history of any type of coffee, our minds click Ethiopia. That is because that was the origin of the coffee plant itself. However, the coffee drinking culture was started in Yemen by the Sufis, who used it to keep them alert during meditation in the 16th century.
From there, it spread to other countries like Egypt, mecca, and the Levant. In the mid-16th century, it spread to Turkey and later to Europe. The word coffee was borrowed from the Arabic language. It became part of the English language in 1582 and was from the Dutch word koffie.
That was borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish word kahve, which was originally taken from the Arabic word qahwa. The word qahwa means strength because coffee is a beverage that provides the drinker with high energy levels.
While coffee may not have originated or first consumes by the Arabs, it plays a huge role in their culture. Arabic coffee is used as a sign of hospitality and friendliness, which is a vital part of their culture.
Different areas have different style of serving Arabic coffee to their guests. Some make the coffee on the table in front of their guests, while others serve the coffee in special, distinctive, and attractive thermos called Dallah, which are considered superior.
Apart from welcoming guests, Arabic coffee is available for coffee lovers in the Arabic culture for breakfast, as an afternoon drink, or even at night. They also have the coffeehouse culture, which is a place that people meet up to catch up and socialize over a cup of coffee.
How It’s Grown And Harvested
Normally, Arabic coffee is gotten from Arabica coffee beans, but it may also be from a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans. Arabica coffee has its origin in south-western Ethiopia. As a young plant, it grows with one stem that later spreads and becomes a thick bush.
How well it is taken care of as it grows determines how bushy it will be. It can grow up to a height of 1.5 meters.
The quality of the coffee beans depends on the care it was given, including proper pruning. The best place to grow Arabica coffee is in a semi-shady and aery place, with a temperature of 20-25 degrees.
The plant should not be exposed to direct sunlight as that could burn the leaves and affect the plant’s health. During winter, the plant needs to be constantly sprayed to maintain the humidity around it.
The soil on which the coffee is planted needs to be airy, permeable, and have a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5. Many small-scale farmers spray the soil with lemon juice to boost the pH levels. The soil on which the coffee is planted should never be dry and should also not be waterlogged.
Many coffee plants are planted in autumn. When the plants are young, they need to be watered more than the old ones. To ensure the plants remain strong, they are fertilized every fortnight from March to September.
The recommended fertilizer is organic complete or liquid instead of mineral fertilizer. That is because mineral fertilizer makes the soil too salty, affecting the quality of the plant and beans.
With proper care, blossoms may start appearing on the bush after 4-8 years. The blossoms are white and appear in the side shoots’ leaf axil. A couple of months after the blossoms develop, green berries develop and are not picked until they are bright red.
Once picked, the red pulp is removed from the berries, and a yellowish bean is left. The bean is then dried in a warm place, and throughout the process, the beans need to be turned regularly to ensure that they dry evenly.
After they are fully dry, the beans are then roasted on a pan under the highest heat level for about 10-20 minutes. They are not ground immediately. They are left for about 12-72 hours before grinding.
Replanting or propagation of the coffee seeds should be done within four weeks after harvesting because, after that, they lose their germination ability.
Arabic Coffee Recipe
As earlier discussed, the level of roasting of the coffee beans gives the final Arabic coffee distinct characteristics. There are different styles of preparing Arabic coffee, depending on your preferences.
- Arabica coffee beans
- Mortar and pestle
- Gather the beans
This is the first and most important step of any Arabic coffee recipe. You can buy coffee beans that are roasted or those that are not so that you can roast at home. That gives you the freedom to make them as dark as you want them.
- Grind the coffee beans
Place the coffee beans in your grinder and grind them until they form a fine powder. Depending on your style, you can use a fine or coarse grind.
- Crush Cardamom pods
Cardamom is one of the most used spices in making Arabic coffee. So much so that some people believe that the coffee comes with that flavor. However, Arabic coffee is naturally unflavored, and you add the spice to it to the degree that you want it.
Grind your cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle. Then, take the cardamom seeds and grind them into a fine powder.
- Heat the water
The Arabic coffee recipes involved boiling the coffee. Therefore, you have to boil your water first. Add the right amount of water, according to how much coffee you want and how strong you want it, into your pot and bring it to a boil.
After the water boils, remove it from the stove and let it sit for around 30 seconds. Reduce the heat and return it to the stove.
- Add the coffee
Add your coffee powder into the water. At this point, you do not have to stir the coffee because the boiling dies the mixing. Let the coffee brew on low heat until it almost boils. Do not let it boil too much as that will burn the coffee.
At that point, the foam will start forming on the surface of the coffee.
- Remove it from heat
Turn off your stove, but if you have one that takes time to cool, remove your coffee from the stove and let it settle for a while. After the foal level has reduced, add the cardamom pods and seeds. You could also add other spices like cloves to enhance the flavor.
- Return on the stove
Put your coffee back on the stove under low heat and let it come to a near boil. It will also form foam in this step.
- Remove from heat
After you see the foam, remove the coffee from the stove. Let it sit and cool for a while as the coffee powder settles on the bottom of the pot.
- Preheat your thermos
Arabic coffee is served in a special thermos called a Dallah. Preheat it before pouring the coffee into it.
- Pour the coffee into the thermos
After all the ground and powder have settled on the bottom of the pot, pour the coffee into the thermos until you notice the ground coming out of the pot. Leave it for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Arabic coffee is best served hot. You could add some sugar as it naturally is unsweetened. It is served in small cups called finjaan, which have no handles. Those cups are half-filled in every serving.
It is also best drunk white. You could serve it with sweet snacks like dates because of its unsweetened nature.
You could also add natural sweeteners like honey, dried cherries, raisins, or sour apples into your Arabic coffee.
When buying Arabic coffee, you have to ensure that you buy it from a licensed and reputable seller, especially if you are buying it online. There are a few things you have to consider, such as;
- What kind of Arabic coffee you want
- Whether you want to buy ground coffee or coffee beans
- If you want the coffee beans roasted or not
- What degree of roast you want
- If you want, there will be cardamom in your coffee
You can buy an Arabic coffee drink in many different cafes or coffee shops, or you can make it at home.
Benefits Of Drinking Arabic Coffee
Numerous benefits have been associated with Arabic coffee, including;
- It improves digestion and helps with some digestive system problems like constipation
- It helps strengthen the immune system
- It helps relieve stress and improve your mood
- Helps burn fat, which makes it perfect for weight loss. It also prevents cholesterol from depositing in your blood vessels, which helps reduce cardiovascular diseases
- Keeps the skin healthy and free from wrinkles because of the high amounts of antioxidants it contains
- Keeps you hydrated because of the high amounts of potassium and sodium
- The sodium and potassium in the coffee also help regulate your blood pressure