But... the other reason why I've been expecting this day, is because I have been talking to Marysia from My Travel Affairs about featuring her blog! Things happened, even my SITS Day Happened... and we had to schedule her blog for today! She has such a special talent and opportunity in her life... guess what she does... she just TRAVELS! yes.. she gets to see the world and share what she sees and learns with all of us! I love her blog it's always so interesting and colorful, the different places, cultures, costumes... it's just amazing! I see the world like a huge house, some of us just get to see one or two rooms, some get to see even three or four, this lady is taking the whole tour!I hope you visit her! I know you'll love her and her blog too!
Now... here is Marysia and her post:
When I found out from Paloma that I will be featured on the Coffee Friday I wasn’t too sure what I’m going to write about. I drink coffee everywhere wherever I travel and those can be really normal places like Zurich, Paris, Oslo and Tel Aviv or some outstanding and unusual places like Oman, Jordan, Benin and Kazakhstan.
I have decided to write about coffee drinking customs in Arabic countries. To be frank I love traveling in the Arab World. It is always a genuine experience, and I’m always seeking for those. People are extremely polite and hospitable. Sights breath-taking. And sun is everlasting!
Coffee is omnipresent in daily life in all Arab countries and under most circumstances. It has been this way for centuries, in homes, coffee shops, deserts and streets. Coffee is central to the meaning and symbol of any event. When coffee is served at their inception, it certainly means that things are going well.When people meet and guests visit, coffee is served as a gesture of hospitality. Often served for free to signify that visitors are welcomed. That is something I have learned in Oman while visiting Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat. I have been approached be Arabic woman to join for coffee and talks on the tourist-welcome center.
Socializing without coffee in Arab homes and public places comes across as not right. Serving coffee has a strong deep rooted significance in Arab life, traditions and cultures. The host serving the coffee expects the guest to drink it as a sign of respect and acceptance of the hospitality. There is many rules coming with it. In Oman the host has to be standing when serving coffee to sitting guests and can only sit with them after the drinking coffee is finished.
Omani people will serve only little of coffee so you can almost see the bottom of the cup and there is no rule about numbers of servings while Bedouin in Jordan will serve almost full cups and you should customary shake the cup after 3rd round. Fourth is considered greedy. The proper etiquette is to tilt the cup a couple of times, quickly, from side to side, holding it between your finger and thumb and it means you do not wish to have a refill.
Arabic coffee tends to be bitter. Often, but not in every country, fresh dates will be offered with the coffee to sweeten the brew. In Oman yes, Jordan very rarely. Iran and Saudi always. Refusing coffee is considered rude and often insulting to the host.
In some countries you can be lucky and observe the old custom for coffee preparations, serving and drinking which is called ‘gahwa’. Whole coffee beans are poured onto a shallow long-handled iron pan called "mahmasa." This pan is set above the flames. The host stirs the roasting beans with an instrument called "yadal mahmasa." The roasted beans, when cool, are pulverized with a pestle in a mortar called " mahbash”. But those days it is usually the powdered coffee, ground in electric grinders, usually prepared by adding it to boiling water with or without sugar. It can be left to brew as the case is in Arab Gulf states and among Bedouin communities or served immediately. Spices such as cardamom and saffron can be added to the coffee. Cardamom usually softens its strong taste. I personally love cardamom! Like a real Arabic person, they even put it in the food while cooking.
I have seen both way, first one in the private house in Oman and the other in Ajlun Castle in Northern Jordan where I have been invited by supervisor after a guided tour to join his team workers for coffee in the office - meaning a desk in the corner of one of the rooms of the castle. The coffee has been cooked in front of me while we spoke about our countries and recent weather anomalies in Jordan. Coffee making is always accompanied by lively conversations!
If you will ever have the opportunity to partake in an authentic Middle Eastern coffee preparation, do it because you will cherish the memory and find it extremely interesting. Until then, what about enjoying a delicious cup of Spicy Pumpkin Latte or real Italian espresso?! I’m just putting a kettle on...
WOW! I learned so much! Loved it! Thanks, Marysia, for sharing all this with us! I hope many of "The Coffee Shop" regulars will stop by your blog and thank you for "the cup of coffee" you brought today!
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© Paloma K.