Qatar’s Culinary Journey: How To Prepare Gahwa

As part of the series of exhibitions on Qatar's Culinary Journey we are showing our way of preparing and serving Gahwa

By National Museum of Qatar

In the first part of Qatar's Culinary Journey, you can learn about the ingredients, influences and ways of preparing Qatari dishes.

In the second part of Qatar's Culinary Journey, we explored the role food plays in local celebrations. To experience the second part of the exhibition.

Hawan Wa Yad Al-Hawan (Mortar and Pestle) by UnkownNational Museum of Qatar

Our Way: Preparing and serving Gahwa in Four Steps

Gahwa (Arabic coffee) is made from Arabica roasted coffee beans mixed with cardamom. It is often served with dried dates.

Mihmas (Roasting Spoon) by UnkownNational Museum of Qatar

Step One

The process began with the lighting of the fire, heating water in the khumrah (a large coffee pot), and roasting raw coffee beans over hot fire in a mihmas (roasting spoon). 

Qatari Man Preparing Gahwa

Man Preparing Gahwa (Coffee) by UnkownNational Museum of Qatar

Mubarrid (Tray) by UnkownNational Museum of Qatar

Step Two

Once roasted, the beans are cooled on the mubarrid and then grounded with hawan wa yad al-hawan (mortar and pestle) and added to the khumrah coffee pot to boil. Cardamom is also grounded and added to the coffee. 

Mizal Dallah (Coffee Pot) by UnkownNational Museum of Qatar

Step Three

Coffee is poured into a serving pot known as the mizal dallah. A palm woven sieve was typically used to strain the coffee grounds while pouring. 

Women Having Gahwa (Coffee), Jette Bang, 20th century, From the collection of: National Museum of Qatar
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Men Having Gahwa (Coffee), Jette Bang, 20th century, From the collection of: National Museum of Qatar
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Set of 12 Fanajin (Coffee Cups) by UnkownNational Museum of Qatar

Step Four

Coffee is then served in fanajin (plural of finjan), or small cups. 

Tips for Serving or Having Gahwa:

• Coffee should be served to first to guests then to elders.

• Traditionally, when a guest has accepted coffee, they should drink three cups. The first cup is known as the guest’s cup or finjan al-dhayf, the second is the sword’s cup or finjan al-sayf, and the third is the pleasure cup or finjan al-khayf. Each denotes the guest’s and host’s trust and pledge to each other.

• The coffee is served from the mizal dallah, which is held in the server’s left hand. The finjan is held in the server’s right hand. The guest then take the finjan with their right hand and sip while the server or host waits to refill the cup or move on to the next guest. The server or host will continue to refill until the guest shakes his finjan, indicating that he does not desire more.

• After the guest has consumed their gahwa, the cup should never be placed on the ground.

Want to Read More?

- Check out the the first part of Qatar's Culinary Journey to learn about the ingredients, influences and ways of preparing Qatari dishes.


- Experience the second part of Qatar's Culinary Journey to learn about how food plays a role in local celebrations.

Credits: Story

Qatar's Culinary Journey includes media from the National Museum of Qatar's digital archive, the Moesgaard Museum and special contributions from Chef Damen Leroux, Chef Noof Al Marri and Deborah A. Klatt, The Cooking Academy: Chef Aisha Al Tamimi & Mohamed Abdulmalik, Chef Noor Al Mazroei.

© The National Museum of Qatar and Moesgaard Museum.  

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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