The Essence of Arabic Coffee

June 24, 2021

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The Essence of Arabic Coffee

June 24, 2021

Arabic coffee is ingrained within Middle Eastern and Arab culture and tradition, and is the most popular form of coffee brewed in the Middle East.

The ceremony of Arabic coffee has a prominent place in traditional Arab holidays and special events such as Ramadan and Eid, and it served to show hospitality and give a generous welcome to guests arriving into the home.

Arabic coffee is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab states confirmed by UNESCO.

Bafarat Arabic Coffee

Arabic coffee at Bafarat, Jeddah
Arabic coffee at Bafarat, Jeddah

In our cafes, our drinks speciality is Arabic coffee, for which our reputation is unmatched. 

We serve Arabic coffee in a traditional tall pot called a ‘dallah’ to bring coffee lovers a unique and authentic Saudi coffee experience. 

Visit our London and Jeddah cafes to enjoy the experience and ceremony of traditional Arabic coffee in the contemporary and comfortable setting of our coffee houses. 

Bafarat’s Arabic coffee is lightly roasted and infused with fragrant cardamom, cloves, ginger and saffron, like in the recipe we’ve shared below. 

How to prepare Arabic coffee

Arabic coffee is made from lightly roasted coffee beans infused with a mix of fragrant spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, and saffron.

Traditional Arabic coffee is usually unsweetened, but sugar can be added during the preparation, depending on the preference of the drinker. 

Arabic coffee is generally prepared start to finish in the presence of the guests who it will be served to. The coffee beans are traditionally roasted, ground, and brewed all at once as part of the ritual, so it’s a fairly lengthy process. 

We love this video on ‘How to make Arabic coffee’ from Saudi blogger Sukkari Life:

Roasting the coffee

  1. Turn on the machine and roast the coffee in a single layer for about 20 mins. Until the coffee reaches a golden brown color. If using a pan, heat the pan on medium low heat. Roast the coffee on the stove top for 45 mins, stirring frequently to avoid burning the coffee.

  1. Once your coffee is roasted. Store in a glass container. Do not grind it right away. Wait until the next day, or even better, 2-3 days later to grind it.

Brewing Arabic coffee

Brewing Arabic coffee - Bafarat, Jeddah
Brewing Arabic coffee


  • 13 grams of coarsely ground coffee (about 1.5 tbsp) 
  • 900 ml of filtered water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of saffron


  1. Boil the water on a stovetop coffee maker
  2. Add the ground coffee, leave to boil
  3. As soon as it begins to bubble, remove it from the heat 
  4. Put it back on the heat again, remove once boiling
  5. Put it back on the heat and leave it to boil for around 10 minutes
  6. Turn off the heat
  7. Add the spices
  8. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes before serving

Arabic Coffee Serving Traditions & Customs

Serving Arabic coffee - Bafarat, Jeddah
Serving Arabic coffee

In Saudi Arabia, Arabic coffee is served as soon as the guests arrive, before dinner. 

The freshly brewed Arabic coffee is served in a small delicate cup without handles, called a finjān. Sometimes, the coffee is moved to a larger and more beautiful pour pitcher to serve in front of the guests, called a Della

Served on a tray, Arabic coffee is usually accompanied with sweet treats, including different types of dates, tahini and sometimes a spread of desserts. 

Traditionally, some Saudi families will enjoy coffee together after sunset (Maghreb prayer) whilst chatting.

How to order an Arabic coffee

  • Qawha sada: black coffee (or no sugar)
  • Qahwa ariha: lightly sweetened
  • Qahwa mazboot: medium amount of sugar
  • Qahwaziyada: very sweet