Arabic Welcome Coffee- Qahwa Sada


6 cups water
20 cardemom pods
9 tablespoons coffee beans, medium roast
1/2 teaspoon cardemom seeds


Roast the cardemom pods until they slightly change color to light brown.
In a coffee grinder, pulse coffee beans and rosted cardemom pods 10 times, so you have very coarsly grinded coffee.
Into a big enough pot, pour water and add the freshly grinded coffee with cardemom. Bring to boil over high feat and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes drain the coffee into another, smaller pot, and bring to boil again.
Into a thermos, put 1 tsp cardemom seeds, pour over the coffee, and close tightly to keep it hot.
When its time to serve, pour about 1/4 of an inch of "qahwa sada" into the coffee cup and serve.


There are two types of coffee served in Jordan: “qahwa sada” or “plain coffee” which is also known as “the welcome coffee”, and “qahwa helwe” or ‘sweet coffee” which is also know as “goodbye coffee” as is served at the end of someone’s visit.

“Qahwa helwe” is also the every day cup of coffee in the Middle East. It comes in three different sugar levels: “qahwa ariha” is lightly sweetened, “qahwa mazboot” is moderately sweetned, and “qahwa ziyada” is very sweetened coffee. When you order your cup of coffee in the Middle East in a coffee shop or "qahwa", make sure to specify which of three sugar levels suits you the most, because sugar is added directly to pot while coffee is brewing.

On the other hand, “qahwa sada” is bitter and it’s served on important occasions as weddings, funeral, family gatherings, and of course on Eid Al-Edha and Eid Al-Fitr. “Qahwa sada” is served in small cups with no handles and in small quantities. The “qahwa sada server” circles around the company and when you had enough of coffee, you have to shake your cup in order to return it to the server.

My first experience with “qahwa sada” was a funny one. “The qahwa sada server” came around the table a second time for anyone who wanted more coffee and for those who wanted to return the cup. What I didn’t know was the “shaking of a cup” part of the ritual. I decided that I had enough and extended my hand while holding the cup to him so he can take the cup away. However, he poured some more into my cup instead of taking it. It happened twice, until my mother-in-law told me I had to shake my cup for them to take it away.


2 cups


Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 5:14am


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