Where is Arabic coffee from?

THE ARABICA BEAN. The coffee plant is an evergreen shrub, classified under the genus Coffea, and part of the botanical family Rubiaceae. There are several species of Coffea, the finest quality being Arabica, which today represents 59% of the world's coffee production. Arabica originated in the highlands of Ethiopia.

What is in Arabic coffee?

Arabic coffee (Arabic: قهوة عربية‎‎) is a general name that refers to the two main ways coffee is prepared in many Arab countries. Coffee originates from the Arabian peninsula. In the coffee, Cardamom is often added, or it is served plain قهوة سادة qahwah sādah (lit. "plain coffee").

Arabic coffee, or ‘‘Al-Qahwa’’ (Arabic: قهوة‎‎, qahwah, locally gahwah or g'hawah), is made from coffee beans roasted very lightly or heavily from 165 °C (329 °F) to 210 °C (410 °F) and cardamom, and is a traditional beverage in Arabian culture. Traditionally, it is roasted on the premises (at home or for special occasions), ground, brewed and served in front of guests. It is often served with dates, dried fruit, candied fruit or nuts. This brewing method is common in Najd and Hijaz, and sometimes other spices like saffron (to give it a golden color), cloves, and cinnamon. Some people add a little evaporated milk to slightly alter its color; however, this is rare. It is served from a special coffee pot called dallah (Arabic: دلة‎‎) and the coffee cups are small with no handle called fenjan. The portions are small, covering just the bottom of the cup. It is served in homes, and in good restaurants by specially clad waiters called gahwaji, and it is almost always accompanied with dates. It is always offered with the compliments of the house. It is also offered at most social events like weddings and funerals.

Arabic coffee is usually served just a few centilitres at a time. The waiter/host serves the guest just enough to cover the bottom of the cup. Usually the coffee is boiling hot, so larger amounts would take too long to cool to a drinkable temperature. The guest drinks it and if he wishes, he will gesture to the waiter not to pour any more. Otherwise the host/waiter will continue to serve another few centilitres at a time until the guest indicates he has had enough. The most common practice is to drink only one cup, since serving coffee serves as a ceremonial act of kindness and hospitality. Sometimes people also drink larger volumes during conversations.

 

FLOWERS AND FRUIT

Since Coffea grows in tropical and equatorial regions where it is always spring or summer, it’s not a change of climate, but rather the beginning of the rainy season that triggers Arabica plants to flower, fragrant and white.

Eight or nine months after flowering comes the fruit: deep red, shiny and plump like cherries, each containing two Arabica seeds, or beans.

With rain, the fruit flourishes, and a careful harvesting process begins.  Since ripe and unripe fruit can occupy the same plant, precision harvesting is critical.

In the cup, a well-prepared espresso borne of exclusively high-quality Arabica is beautifully fragrant, sweet and round, with a slight and pleasant acidity, often chocolaty, with an aftertaste of caramel and just a mild hint of bitterness.

The rich, creamy layer on top, or crema, should have a light reddish brown hue, unbroken and painted with tiger-like stripes.

THE ARABICA BEAN

The coffee plant is an evergreen shrub, classified under the genus Coffea, and part of the botanical family Rubiaceae.  There are several species of Coffea, the finest quality being Arabica, which today represents 59% of the world’s coffee production.

Arabica originated in the highlands of Ethiopia.  It is sensitive to hot and humid conditions, and grows at altitudes of 1.25-1.55 miles.  Arabica grown at higher altitudes is associated with the emergence of higher quality characteristics during roasting.

The coffee bean is actually the seed of the coffee plant, found inside a red fruit often called the cherry. Each cherry contains two seeds (beans) surrounded by a membrane called the parchment, and a layer of sweet pulp. Arabica beans are fairly flat and elongated, with a sinuous groove.

Genetically Arabica is the only species with 44 chromosomes of Coffea. Chemically, Arabica’s caffeine content varies from 0.9 to 1.7% of each bean’s volume.

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