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Arab Coffee


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#1 PCL

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 04:58 PM

Greetings.

On behalf of a friend, I have the following query to put forward:

How is traditional cardamom flavoured coffee, popular amongst Arabs, prepared?

We live in Australia, and Melbourne is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world (well, to us 'natives' anyway :smile: ) so access to ingredients, types thereof and bits and pieces is not a problem.

Specifically, I think the following questions are pertinent:

- ratios
- brewing technique
- serving etiquette
- to sweeten or not

Basically, we are looking to preparing a treat for a special guest to remind him of home and hope to make it as well as possible.

Thanks in advance!!

Pein


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#2 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 05:08 PM

There's a great deal of variety. For starters, are you talking about green coffee or roasted?
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#3 PCL

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 05:11 PM

Thanks for the quick response Chris.

I have to admit that I do not know. I am assuming that by green you mean unroasted beans ? Because if so, roasted beans are easier to come by and more familiar to work with, shall we proceed in that fashion then?


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#4 jayt90

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 05:27 PM

My local Mediterranean store, Nasr, sells coffee ground to spec. If you want cardamom, they add a well rounded teaspoon to a pound of beans, then grind.
You could use this as a starting point, if you have cardamom seeds, and coffee from Africa available (Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen etc).
The store also prefers to add some dark roast to the regular roast but this is why they grind to your specs. For me a little dark roast goes a long way...

I use a drip device, as I can't get the French Press to work for me.

Arabs will drink it black, and sweetened, but it will be fine with cream and a little less sugar.

#5 Behemoth

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 08:04 PM

The coffee needs to be ground finer than espresso. How do I describe it? It should feel almost like corn starch. The shop can mix cardamom into the grind if you ask. You can also buy vacuum packed coffee in middle eastern stores with or without cardamom. Najjar is a common Lebanese brand.

Method: You need a turkish coffee pot, which is a cylinder that narrows at the top. for each cup of coffee, measure out a demi-tasse full of water, and a well-rounded teaspoon of coffee. Bring to a boil on the stove. Let it boil over three times (removing it from the flame as it comes up the pot each time.) If you want sugar, add between a half and whole teaspoon, and let it boil up one more time.

To drink, give it a minute so the sediment settles on the bottom.

Actually, the following tutorial on coffeegeek is a good one. They go so far as to grind their own beans, which is a very nice touch.

Turkish Coffee tutorial

To sweeten or not? Sweeten if you like sugar :smile:

The only etiquette thing I can think of, don't serve sweetened coffee during funerals.

Edited by Behemoth, 07 December 2005 - 09:25 PM.


#6 PCL

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 10:31 PM

Thanks a bunch.

Seems like I've got all I need to know??

One more thing, do we have agreement on the ratio? Are we talking 1 heaped teaspoon per pound of coffee? Let's see, one pound is like just under 1/2kilo.... cool.

Thanks again.


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#7 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 10:58 PM

Whoa -- are you talking about Turkish or Arabic coffee? The latter is not roasted.
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#8 PCL

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 11:10 PM

Ooookay... ignoramus here... what does unroasted coffee taste like?
Do you just dry the beans out then grind them?

Confused now...


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#9 FoodMan

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 08:07 AM

PCL-
Check out my eGCI class on Lebanese cuisine HERE. Scroll all the way to the bottom and I have instructions how to make this type of coffee. The brand I like most is Najjar. Cardamom is optional as is sugar.

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#10 Chris Amirault

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 06:17 PM

Ooookay... ignoramus here... what does unroasted coffee taste like?
Do you just dry the beans out then grind them?

Confused now...

View Post

Sorry -- I should have written above that Saudi coffee beans are extremely lightly roasted; they don't turn dark at all so they're still green. The beans are then ground along with cardamom, combined with water, and cooked over high heat for a good while. It is not a dark roast at all -- it doesn't taste like what most people think is "coffee." Rather, it is a whitish, yellowish, greenish sour and fruity drink that tastes highly of the cardamom. It is not sweetened but meant to be eaten with dates. Click here for a post I wrote about it.
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#11 phaelon56

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 06:32 PM

I should have written above that Saudi coffee beans are extremely lightly roasted; they don't turn dark at all so they're still green. The beans are then ground along with cardamom, combined with water, and cooked over high heat for a good while. It is not a dark roast at all -- it doesn't taste like what most people think is "coffee." Rather, it is a whitish, yellowish, greenish sour and fruity drink that tastes highly of the cardamom.


Aha! That explains a few things. I was involved in a discussion thread elsewhere a couple years ago when someone asked about "white coffee". There was much speculation and the explanation finally acccepted by consensus as likely closest to the truth was very similar to what you describe.

And there I was thinking it was just another name for a "flat white" (I'll let the Aussie's who are here explain that one!).

#12 Chris Amirault

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 03:37 PM

I must say also that I developed a real jones for the stuff. It's hard even to think of it as coffee. But several small (2 oz, I think) cups of that with fantastic dates, followed by a few glasses of blackmarket Johnny Walker Black, and you've got yourself a very nice start to a long evening.
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#13 maher

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 04:32 AM

there are actually a few more variations than that.

First there is the turkish coffee, whose brewing technique was covered pretty well in this thread. It is typically drunk with some sugar, frequently with quite a lot. It isground extremely fine, and the mixture includes roasted cardamom as an optional extra. Most people in the Middle East have their own preference for level of roast, but it typically includes a blend of anywhere between half and 75% medium roast, and the remainder of dark or very dark roast. this gives it both the body and the dark roasted taste that is characteristic of turkish coffee. (i am partial to a mix that is about 60% medium roast, 35% dark roast, and about 5% or less cardamom)

Second there is the Saudi Coffee, which is a mix of almost equal quantities very lightly roasted coffee and cardamom. they are ground to a relatively coarse grade (think electric perk), boiled for at least 5 minutes, and then left to steep. the coffee is then filtered out, and typically keeps well in a thermal carafe from which it is poured for up to an hour or so. It is served typically without sugar, and in quite small quantites, about a demitasse at a time.

Third is a more conventionally roasted arab coffee, which is prepared in a manner similar to the Saudi coffee, but with a fairly darkly roasted bean. It is prepared in a very similar manner to the Saudi coffee, and is more commonly drunk in the northern arab countries, (Jordan, Syria, Iraq)

For any of these types of coffees, the best bean is likely to be one of the red sea region, either yemeni mocha, or ethiopian yergechaffe will work well.


Finally, what the Lebanese refer to as white coffee (ahwe baida) isn't actually coffee at all. It is hot water into which is poured a teaspoon of orange blossom water. it is typically drunk at the end of meals, and many in the region believe it acts as a digestif.

#14 Rebecca263

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 06:12 AM

Hi, I'm Syrian, family from Damascus. I make an ibrik every morning, it's my private time, and I wanted to add a few bits to this thread. Sometimes we just throw in a crushed cardamom seed to the pot. I always use a LOT more sugar than 1 1/2 teaspoons, this morning I made 5 demitasse and I used 3 heaping tablespoons. I'm sure to have done this incorrectly, but here's (I hope!) a link to my own post on the subject. http://forums.egulle...dpost&p=1071777
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#15 phaelon56

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 08:13 AM

For any of these types of coffees, the best bean is likely to be one of the red sea region, either yemeni mocha, or ethiopian yergechaffe will work well.


Expect to pay about $15 - $18 per pound for a true Yemeni moka coffee - there are three varieties sold in the US depending on time of year and which crop is best in a given season. There is a also a "Red Sea Blend" that's used by some as a slightly less expensive substitute to serve as the moka component in a mocha java blend. It's comprised of roughly 1/3 each Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Ethiopian Sidamo and a Yemeni moka bean.

I'v e been using Red Sea blend lately in place of Yirg in my espresso blend and it adds a very nice depth of flavor.

#16 Rebecca263

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 02:13 PM

Ethiopian beans are the best! Spring for them, you won't leave anyone disappointed.
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#17 marktfrau

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 03:55 PM

We've sold spices for many years at our family store. we typically buy the spices in bulk (kilo-wise) and repack into 50 or 100g bags. sometimes we have a few grams left over - like cardamom.
we buy green cardamom, although white (mainly bleached) and black exist. I'd always store the leftovers in a dish in the kitchen of the store.
in the morning, I'd come in, make a regular pot of coffee (in Germany it can be stronger than in the US), and just add 4 or 5 cardamom capsules to the coffee filter. voila. cardamom coffee, with no fuss.
p.s. milk and sugar are always good for me in the morning.

Edited by marktfrau, 05 January 2006 - 03:57 PM.


#18 Hassouni

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:06 PM

I'd like to add another type of coffee here, which I've only seen in Lebanon and is called "Arabic coffee" (the other kind is called Turkish even in Arabic), but it's very different from Bedouin/Gulf style "Arabic coffee". A very dark roast is coarsely ground, and then brewed in a tall pot (in Arabic: "dalla"). I asked a street vendor how he made it and essentially the formula is this: take 100g of coffee grounds per litre of water. Put 50g in the pot along with all the water, and simmer for an hour. Add the remaining 50g in and keep simmering for another hour. At this point, strain into another container and keep warm on the heat. Served in shots of about an ounce, with or without sugar, added at serving time. Since 1L of this coffee is a lot, I typically do this in quantities of 100-250mL. the 100g to 1L ratio may be slightly inaccurate, since he told me he uses something like 3.5 kilos of coffee beans for 12 pots, each of which I eyeballed at maybe holding 3L. So, 3500g or 36 L yields a shade under 100g per L. I think I've come pretty close when I've made it.

This stuff is STRONG.....if you can't handle Turkish then stay away. But if espressos don't do it for you anymore, give this a try.

#19 ChefCrash

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:43 PM

I'd like to add another type of coffee here, which I've only seen in Lebanon and is called "Arabic coffee" (the other kind is called Turkish even in Arabic), but it's very different from Bedouin/Gulf style "Arabic coffee". A very dark roast is coarsely ground, and then brewed in a tall pot (in Arabic: "dalla"). I asked a street vendor how he made it and essentially the formula is this: take 100g of coffee grounds per litre of water. Put 50g in the pot along with all the water, and simmer for an hour. Add the remaining 50g in and keep simmering for another hour. At this point, strain into another container and keep warm on the heat. Served in shots of about an ounce, with or without sugar, added at serving time. Since 1L of this coffee is a lot, I typically do this in quantities of 100-250mL. the 100g to 1L ratio may be slightly inaccurate, since he told me he uses something like 3.5 kilos of coffee beans for 12 pots, each of which I eyeballed at maybe holding 3L. So, 3500g or 36 L yields a shade under 100g per L. I think I've come pretty close when I've made it.

This stuff is STRONG.....if you can't handle Turkish then stay away. But if espressos don't do it for you anymore, give this a try.


Oh man, you liked this coffee enough to want to make it?:)
I made the mistake of ordering "Arabic coffee" in a restaurant thinking I was going to get Turkish. It was awful. I can't say it's strong, just burnt and acetic.
My wife and I don't recall this being around in Lebanon 20 or 30 years ago. I think it came about with the large influx of Syrian workers during and after the civil war.
An easier way to make it would be to take yesterday's American coffee and boil it for an hour, then leave it on a hot plate for another:)


Edit to add smiley faces.

Edited by ChefCrash, 01 November 2011 - 07:45 PM.


#20 KatieLoeb

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:05 PM

I'm with marktfrau. I've added a few bruised (read: bashed with the bottom of a bottle or can) cardamom pods to the filter on my regular drip coffee maker and had delicious cardamom scented coffee with minimal muss and fuss...

On that note I'm going down to the kitchen to set up the coffee pot and timer for first thing in the morning. I'd forgotten how much I like this. Thanks for reminding me. :smile:

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#21 Hassouni

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:13 PM

My wife and I don't recall this being around in Lebanon 20 or 30 years ago. I think it came about with the large influx of Syrian workers during and after the civil war.
An easier way to make it would be to take yesterday's American coffee and boil it for an hour, then leave it on a hot plate for another:)


Edit to add smiley faces.


You may be right about the Syrians, I saw it more in Tripoli than anywhere else, which is full of Syrian workers