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Coffee Culture

Coffee was been part of my life since I was a child. I grew up with the smell of fresh coffee every morning, served dark but with lots of sugar for adults. It was an occasional moment, not a daily thing as a child. I didn't start drinking coffee daily until a was a mom. I use to drink chai or herbal tea in my teens and early 20s.


On my recent trip to the UAE, I learned about their coffee culture. When you visit someone, they offer Arabic coffee and dates. The dates are fresh and look like grapes, love to find some in the US. There were many coffee shops in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In Al-Ain, coffee was served on arrival, the pour is small, and refills are encouraged. Emirati uses non-verbal cues to let their host know if they want more- shake the cup for more; cover the cup if you don't want more coffee. The small pour is to encourage you to stay longer.





If someone offers you a full cup and no smile, they really don't like you. If the cup is full and you receive a smile, they might be heading out to an engagement and don't have time to chat.


I was lucky to have a tour of Bur Dubai and we went to the Coffee museum where I learned more about the vessels used and how they prepare. They had a sitting room that is common in Emarati homes for drinking coffee. It reminded me of the tea room, we had in the apartment we stayed in Istanbul. A lot of similarities with Turkey but it makes sense, this region was under the Ottoman empire. Even though the United Arab Emirates is 51 years old as a nation, it was a rich culture that is amazing to experience.



Also, learned about Ethiopian coffee, and guess what it's served with? It's a movie night staple? Popcorn, you are encouraged to eat popcorn with coffee. It reminds me that coffee is usually served with something sweet in Latin cultures. As a child, I remember enjoying the torta or sugar cookies served when we visited family.


Do you have a coffee tradition? Do you serve it with something specific, sweet, or savory?


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