ARABIAN DELIGHT: COFFEE CULTURE IN ABU DHABI Emiratis love their coffee. A rich aromatic brew spiced with green cardamom and cloves is likely to be the first taste sensation welcoming you into an Arabic home, hotel or onboard a Middle Eastern flight. Across the Arabian Peninsula, coffee has been a fascinating part of region’s culture dating back to 1000 A.D. when coffee beans from Ethiopia were first introduced to the region.
Enjoying coffee at home with family and friends to celebrate life’s most memorable moments and serving coffee to royalty at lavish events have been steeped into the history and tradition of the Middle East. Following Arabic etiquette, coffee is made in a number of steps, in front of the guest by the host. First, beans are roasted, followed by an addition of herbs and spices, including cardamom, cloves, ginger, and saffron. Grinding of the beans, brewing and serving are all performed while news is shared and conversation flows.
Served from an ornate metal coffee pot called dalla, the host pours just one or two sips into the tiny delicate cups, also called finjaan. It is customary to share three cups: one to honor the guest, another for pure enjoyment, and the final cup to show the host’s role in protecting his guest. Fresh dates or sweets are often served on the side.
Whether it is a ritual or a quick cup on the run, the delight of Arabic coffee is undeniable. Here we share a few destinations in Abu Dhabi to enjoy coffee in a setting of exceptional luxury.
Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal : The classic lobby lounge at the Ritz-Carlton with its vaulted ceiling and semi-private dining areas is a chic setting to enjoy traditional Arabic coffee and delicious sweets, including their famous gourmet cupcakes.
Observation Deck at 300 : Enjoy Arabic coffee with panoramic views of Abu Dhabi’s shimmering skyline and surrounding islands. From the 74th floor of tower two at the Etihad Towers complex, the Observation Deck at 300 offers an impressive selection of premium coffees presented with ceremony and fine attention to detail.
Le Vendôme Brasserie : Located in the Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi, the restaurant has a magnificent interior and a terrace overlooking the marina. They make Le Vendôme a wonderful location to dine, sip Arabian coffee and marvel at the magical setting.
Al Arish Restaurant : This hidden gem in Abu Dhabi with its extravagant Arabian decor, palm-leaf ceiling and sumptuous lounge has entertained princes and sheiks alike. Prepare for authentic coffee served with Arabian opulence.