Arabic coffee, a symbol of generosity

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Inscribed in 2015 (10.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© TCA, 2014

Serving Arabic coffee is an important aspect of hospitality in Arab societies and considered a ceremonial act of generosity. Traditionally, coffee is prepared in front of guests. Coffee-making begins with the selection of beans, which are lightly roasted in a shallow pan over a fire, then placed into a copper mortar and pounded with a copper pestle. The coffee grounds are placed into a large copper coffee pot; water is added and the pot is placed on the fire. Once brewed, it is poured into a smaller coffee pot from which it is poured into small cups. The most important or oldest guest is served first, filling a quarter of the cup, which can then be refilled. Common practice is to drink at least one cup but not exceed three. Arabic coffee is made and enjoyed by men and women from all segments of society, particularly in the home. The sheikhs and heads of tribes who serve Arabic coffee in their meeting spaces, elderly Bedouin men and women and owners of coffee trading shops are considered the main bearers. Knowledge and traditions are passed on within the family through observation and practice. Young family members also accompany their elders to the market to learn how to select the best coffee beans.

An Emarati woman wearing the traditional burqa (face mask) roasting Arabic coffee beans using Al-Mehmas and Al-Migla (a copper stir and a pan, tools for roasting Arabic coffee) while participating in an Arabic coffee making competition.
An Emarati Woman wearing henna grinds the Arabic coffee using Al-Minhaz (Grinder)
Preparing Arabic coffee in the house (Saudi Arabia)
Serving coffee in a Majlis in Saudi Arabia
(Dallah) Coffee pot is a symbol of generosity in the Gulf. A monument decorating one of the roundabouts of Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.
An Omani elderly man teaching a child how to make Arabic coffee in Al-Hadheera (an enclosure where people of the old days used to make coffee, specially the Bedouin)
Al-mugahwi serving Arabic coffee wearing traditional costume (Qatar)
Omani women enjoying coffee in a tent
Free, prior and informed consent to the nomination of the element from the community members (Oman)
A host of a Bedouin tribe serving his guest with coffee (Qatar)