Arabic coffee (gawa): a ritual more than a drink

Since coming to this country a little over four years ago I have fallen in love with the ritual of "gawa" or Arabic coffee. Every house, every majlis and every formal occasion I have been to has involved being offered this light, yet rich tasting coffee.

I understood how it was made, often the beans are roasted at home - it can be lightly roasted or dark roast or anything in between - bad then different spices are boiled with the coffee and then served in a fancy coffee pot in little cups.

You pour the coffee with your left hand - and only pour a tiny bit in the cup. I was told by some students that if you fill it up to the top - it means that you want your guests to only stay for one cup and leave - and if you give a full cup to an older woman, she might just throw it in your face for being rude!!!!

I usually have 2 or 3 cups... (because I really like it and like guessing the spice blend in each place I try it) and then shake my cup to indicate to the person pouring I don't want anymore. It is usually served with dates (incidentally, only eat dates in odd numbers - my students INSIST on this, so it must be true - something about the sugar going to your blood) and it is a really nice tradition, ceremony and there is something about the ritual I find relaxing and welcoming.
My Lulu (e.g. inexpensive but lovely) coffee pot and little cups
This past week I was lucky to see it made first hand - from grinding the spices, to boiling the coffee, to serving and of course to drinking it! The coffee was made by my dear friend's mother and I won't give away all the secrets.... Just a few!

This pot will be good for a small crowd... put around 2 cups of the "mix" in to boil

Boil for around 40 minutes or so... (and yes, that is am on the dial - but maybe a few hours off!)

Add some saffron to the coffee pot
add the saffron to all the pots to be used
Fill the kettle up with already boiling water....

the secret spice blend - green cardamon pods, cloves and something else... (if you know the name you can put it in comments)

Blend until it looks like this (add desired amount of coffee beans before grinding)

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