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On holiday in Egypt, I had Nubian coffee in Aswan. This is similar in some ways to Ethiopian coffee: the beans are roasted then and there. It also has spices added, and the end result is an absolutely gorgeous strong, sweet, rich drink.

However, I didn't see exactly what went in it, and have heard all sorts of suggestions since - none of which agree with each other - cloves, cardamom, figs, etc. Does anyone know exactly how this is made?

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  • 2 weeks later...

ground roasted cardamom pods and dark roasted ethiopean yirgechaffe (sp?) are the closest thing to the coffee part that you'll get, and a reasonable approximation of the real thing.

the problem is the sweetener. they use unprocessed date sugar, which comes in solid blocks, and adds a really nice flavor component. its a bit too sweet for my taste, but im guessing thats what you had. unfortunately i have no idea where it is available if at all in the us

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ground roasted cardamom pods and dark roasted ethiopean yirgechaffe (sp?)  are the closest thing to the coffee part that you'll get, and a reasonable approximation of the real thing.

the problem is the sweetener. they use unprocessed date sugar, which comes in solid blocks, and adds a really nice flavor component. its a bit too sweet for my taste, but im guessing thats what you had. unfortunately i have no idea where it is available if at all in the us

Bob's Red Mill has date sugar. Also, NOW Foods. They are available at many natural food stores.

Ilene

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Did you notice if they tossed some sugar into the roasting pan during the process? In some places, including in the "countryside" of Haiti, this is a common practice. The sugar used is from sugar cane but it's a less refined grade than the with sugar we see here in the US. And the roasting process caramelizes it onto the surface of the bean. It lends a smoky sweetness that is quite different from just adding sugar to the brewed coffee.

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ground roasted cardamom pods and dark roasted ethiopean yirgechaffe (sp?)  are the closest thing to the coffee part that you'll get, and a reasonable approximation of the real thing.

the problem is the sweetener. they use unprocessed date sugar, which comes in solid blocks, and adds a really nice flavor component. its a bit too sweet for my taste, but im guessing thats what you had. unfortunately i have no idea where it is available if at all in the us

The date sugar sounds like the palm sugar used in Asian cooking. It's called "gula jawa" in Indonesia (where I lived as a child). I think it's called "jaggery" (sp?) in India. You should be able to find it in Asian markets.

The stuff isn't just solid, it's a kind of gummy, resinous mass - barely sticky to the touch, unless it's really old and dried-up. :huh: It has a much more complex flavor profile than cane or beet sugar. There's a kind of pine-tar overtone to it. (I make it sound gross, but it actually tastes pretty good).

Owen's idea of tossing some sugar into the beans while roasting is fascinating. Do you add the sugar at the end of the roast? I would think that it would just char if it was added too early. If anyone wants to try it, green coffee, including North-African varieties, can be ordered from places like sweetmarias.

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Tosing the sugar in while the beans are roastring is done only when roasting in an open pan. The sugar is tossed in close to the end of the roast and in Haiti (as the process has been described to my by Haitian friends) the beans are taken to about a Spanish roast level - so dark they are almost charred.

Regrettably, like much else in that country, the coffee industry is in a state of disarray. Most of what is grown is consumed locally and the little that has gotten out to other markets in recent years has been poorly sorted, processed and graded.

At one time, not so long ago - up to the 1940's I think - Haiti was one of the biggest coffee producers in the caribbean and produced classic island coffee. We can only hope and pray that they are able to restore that industry and bring sorely needed revenue to a struggling people.

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Tosing the sugar in while the beans are roastring is done only when roasting in an open pan. The sugar is tossed in close to the end of the roast and in Haiti (as the process has been described to my by Haitian friends) the beans are taken to about a Spanish roast level - so dark they are almost charred.

Now you tell me! I just poured a 10 pound bag of Domino into the Probat! Argh! (just kidding)

Sounds very interesting.

And AMEN on your comments on ALL coffee producing countries.

Ken

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they did not put any sugar in the roasting pan. i should say though that almost all coffee roasting in that region is done in open pans (a very heavy cast iron pan with a long arm, usually sold link by a chain to a long armed stirrer that is basically a two inch wide flat metal disc attached to a long arm. it is known in arabic as a 'mihmass', literal translation: roaster.

the date sugar is indeed a semi solid resionous mass, and not too dry.

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