Coffee is associated with customs, traditions and connotations that differ from one country to another, but they share commonalities in promoting a culture of celebration and social cohesion. However, Arabic coffee has a special significance in expressing the generosity and hospitality in the Arab Gulf region in general and the State of Qatar in particular.
Coffee has a long history, and it has become part of the culture of the State of Qatar and the Arab Gulf region, especially Arabic coffee, which was officially included with the Majles on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Dec. 2015.
During the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, visitors and fans will be able to taste Arabic coffee, experience a different flavour, and embark on a unique journey in Qatar wherever they go based on the generosity and hospitality enjoyed by the people of the country.
Historians believe that the origins of coffee goes back to Ethiopia, where it was discovered in the ninth century AD, specifically in the Kaffa region. Researchers believe that coffee cultivation was transferred from there to the south of the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen during the fifteenth century AD, and its spread began among Arabs and their neighbours, and became linked to social and cultural sessions through the spread of cafes. With the increasing popularity of this drink, it moved to many regions of the world, and with the beginning of the 20th century, coffee production increased in the countries of the Western Hemisphere, the most important of which is Brazil. Machines began to be used to roast coffee instead of using manual methods, and then the methods of harvesting coffee beans evolved to make an evolution in dealing with coffee.
Coffee has been a source of richness for literary and intellectual creativity at the global level, as it is of interest to researchers and writers. James Hoffmann wrote "The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing - Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed," which maps coffee production in more than 35 countries. In " The Coffee Dictionary", Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood tells everything about how to make coffee and the ideal method of brewing it. Poets and novelists also focused on coffee. Some examples include "Black Coffee," by Agatha Christie, "Uranium Coffee" by the late Egyptian Author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, "Parting Flavor Coffee" by the Egyptian novelist Samar Salem, "Bitter Coffee Rituals" by the Palestinian Firas Haj Mohammad, "The Seduction of the Name - the Biography of Coffee and the Letter of Prohibition" by the Saudi critic Saeed Al Suraihi, and "The Literature of Tea and Coffee" by Author Muhammad Tahir AlKurdi. The late writer Abdulaziz Muhammad Al-Ahaidib was one of the first to collect popular coffee poems. Moreover, the Ministry of Culture (MOC) in Qatar also issued a booklet on Qatari coffee, which highlighted the importance of coffee as part of Qatari culture, the way it is prepared, the tools used, and how it is presented.
There are many forms and flavours of coffee in different countries and cultures. Many of its benefits were recorded, especially Arabic coffee, which includes reducing muscle pain and preventing cancer, because it contains a high percentage of antioxidants. It eliminates the feeling of hunger, and therefore it helps with excess weight and helps regulate blood sugar.
A researcher in Qatari history Writer Ali Al Fayyad said in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), that coffee has its place in the Qatari and Gulf society and has been associated with hospitality, generosity, and authenticity.
He explained that Arabic coffee is accompanied by many customs, traditions and etiquette, and they differ from one place to another and from one country to another, pointing out that one of the well-known coffee customs in the Gulf and Qatar is to pour the coffee holding the coffee pot (dallah) with the left hand and the small cups with the right hand. Coffee should be given first to the elderly or people of stature. The drinker should finish their coffee, and it is customary to continue pouring coffee until the guest declines or shakes his cup without speaking.
Al Fayyad added that Arabic coffee is added with spices to sweeten it, improve its smell, and give it a beautiful colour, and distinctive flavour.
In the Gulf region, cloves are added to the coffee, in addition to saffron, sometimes in a small amount.
Coffee has its own tools, distinctive methods of making, and rituals in preparation and presentation to the guest. Among its tools are the Al Mehmas to stir the coffee during its roasting, the mortar, which is the bowl of coffee grinding, as well as the blower that is used to light the fire during preparation.
Qatari researcher Ali Al Fayyad affirmed that coffee received the attention of the Qatari society as part of its culture, and Qatari poets paid attention to it and organised poems and riddles about it, pointing out that there are many Qatari poets who have poetry about coffee, including the Poet Omair bin Afishah Al Hajri, and the Poet Lahdan bin Saleh Al Kubaisi.
It is worth noting that there is an association between Arabic coffee and the Majlis to the extent that they became two sides of one cultural environment. In fact, Arabic coffee gives the Majlis its aroma, and it is part of the well-established traditions in Qatari folklore.