Saudi coffee, also known as gulf coffee, has been a daily morning tradition in the Middle East for generations. And like any type of coffee, it tastes best when it is made from fresh beans. Fresh beans must be roasted and ground before brewing can begin, and while these extra steps make the coffee-making process more labor-intensive, the full flavor makes it all worthwhile.
Things You'll Need
- Fresh Arabica beans
- Coffee roaster, frying pan or conventional oven
- Perforated baking sheet
- Mortar and pestle, electric grinder or crank grinder
- Jug or French press
- Cooking range
- Rose water
Buy fresh 100 percent Arabica beans for the most authentic Saudi coffee. Fresh beans will be green, not brown, and should be roasted just prior to making coffee, for the best taste.
Roast your fresh beans. Plan to roast 1/8 cup of beans for every 1 cup of coffee you want to make. You can roast your beans either in a stand-alone home coffee roaster, a frying pan over medium heat or in a 500 degree oven on a perforated baking sheet. They should be roasted to a light golden brown, which can happen in as few as three minutes or can take up to 20 minutes, depending on the intensity of the heat and the roasting method you're using. In most cases, however, the beans will reach the right level of roast in less than 10 minutes, so it is best to watch them closely and remove them from the heat as soon as they're about the same hue as peanut butter.
Grind your coffee to your desired fineness. The most traditional means of grinding Saudi coffee is with a mortar and pestle, although the easiest and most common way is to use an electric canister grinder. You may also find that a hand-crank style burr grinder will grind the beans quickly while giving you greater control over the fineness of the grounds. Finer grounds will result in a stronger and somewhat more bitter brew, while coarser ground give you a milder, more mellow flavor.
Prepare a container in which to steep the coffee by putting in some saffron, cardamom and rose water. For the most traditional Saudi coffee, steep it in a glass or ceramic jug, but you will need a fine strainer if you take this approach. An easier approach is to use a French press. In either case, add 1/4 tsp. of saffron, 1/2 tsp. of cardamom and 3/4 tsp. of rose water for every 1 cup of coffee. Just put the ingredients in the bottom of the container.
Bring your water to boil in a teapot over high heat. Use 1 cup of water for every 1/8 cup of beans you roasted in step two.
Add the coffee grounds to the boiling water. For milder coffee, boil for about three minutes. For stronger coffee, boil for as long as five minutes.
Pour the hot coffee into the steeping container with the saffron, cardamom and rose water. Leave it to steep for 30 minutes for milder coffee or for as long as 45 minutes for stronger coffee.
Strain and pour your coffee into cups to serve. If you're using a jug, simply pour the coffee through a fine strainer and into another serving container or directly into serving cups. If you're using a French press, slowly push the strainer plunger down to the bottom of the French press and pour directly from the flask into the serving cups.
Tips & Warnings
- Fresh beans are harder to come by than roasted beans, but the difference in taste is worth the effort. If no coffee shops or restaurant supply stores in your area sell fresh, green coffee beans, you may need to order them from an out-of-town supplier. Links to some suppliers can be found in the resources section.
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