In the first part of Qatar's Culinary Journey, you can discover the ingredients, influences and ways of preparing Qatari dishes.
In the second part of Qatar's Culinary Journey, we explore the role food plays in local celebrations.
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.
The process begins with lighting the fire, heating the water in the khumrah (a large coffee pot), and roasting raw coffee beans over hot fire in a mihmas (roasting spoon).
Man Preparing Gahwa (Coffee) (20th century) by UnkownNational Museum of Qatar
Qatari Man Preparing Gahwa
Once roasted, the beans are cooled on the mubarrid. Then grounded with the 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.
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.
Coffee is then served in fanajin (plural of finjan), or small cups.
Tips for Serving or Having Gahwa:
• Coffee should be served 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.
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.