Beautiful Wadi Rum desert
Preparing Bedouin coffee

Four secrets of Bedouin coffee

Four secrets of Bedouin coffee

Coffee has been a symbol of Jordan’s heritage since pre-modern times. It became part of the Bedouin culture as the caravans transported the coffee from Aqaba to Iran and Irak. The Arabica coffee originated from Yemen. And was transported to Aqaba by boat. At that time Jordan was an important coffee trading country. I’d like to share some secrets with you about Bedouin coffee.

#1 Bedouin coffee: a way of life

During holidays like Eid, weddings and periods of mourning we serve coffee frequently. For us Bedouins coffee is more than just a drink. It is an important symbol of hospitality and trust. Offering a cup of coffee to someone and having it accepted shows mutual goodwill. It also plays an important role in our way of doing business, negotiating and discussing marriage. For example, if one of us has a problem with another person, the family goes to the other person’s family to resolve the dispute. When the host asks them to drink coffee, it means the problem is solved.

#2 Bedouin coffee types

We have two types of coffee:

  • Qahwa sada which is plain coffee.
  • Qahwa helwe which is sweet coffee.

Qahwa helwe comes with three different levels of sugar:

  • Qahwa ariha which is lightly sweetened.
  • Qahwa mazboot which is moderately sweetened.
  • Qahwa ziyada which is very sweetened.

The sugar will be added during the preparation process. So inform your host upfront about your wishes.

#3 Coffee etiquette

The coffee is served in small quantities in small cups with no handles. You can have three cups of coffee. The first cup is for the soul. The second is for the sword. And the third is because you are guest. If you want a refill simple hand your cup to your host. In case you had enough shake the cup before handing it to your host. Even if you are no coffee fan at all, just be polite and sensitive to the local traditions. And accept at least one cup if it is offered to you.

#4 Traditional way to prepare Bedouin style coffee

  • Roast the green Arabic beans in a pan over the fire and enjoy the wonderful smell of roasting beans.
  • Boil water in a pot or pan over the fire.
  • Grind the roasted beans with a mortar called mehbash and pestle and smell the intense coffee aroma.
  • Grind cardamom pods and enjoy another aroma sensation in your noise.
  • Putt the coffee and cardamom together in the coffee pot.
  • Pour the boiled water on the coffee and cardamom.
  • Infuse and boil until it has the perfect taste.
  • Now enjoy your powerful, tasty coffee.

Did you know that famous coffee brands share information about Bedouin coffee? Have a look at the side of Lavazza. They have a special section for history and coffee culture.

Come and join us as we enjoy making and drinking Bedouin coffee in our beautiful desert.

See you in Wadi Rum desert,

Fawaz and Abdullah

1Comment
  • Mary Greenly
    Posted at 22:34h, 16 March Reply

    Reading about Gertrude Bell’s travels, I am struck by the amount of coffee she drank, especially in the evening. Either that coffee was not very caffeinated, or she was remarkable in caffeine resistance, in addition to all her other skills. As often as not she was joining her ArAb camel drivers around the evening campfire.

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