The Lebanese have a long tradition of hospitality and they like entertaining at home. But this tradition also extends to business so that whether you’re visiting a friend or a carpet maker, you’ll always be served a traditional Arab coffee as a sign of welcome, served in a demitasse (100 ml / 3-4 oz.) The coffee is thick, strong and sometimes lightly flavored. It is poured out in front of the guest from a long-handled coffee pot, and generally served with a glass of water. It is so much a part of the culture that it is joked that a Lebanese who didn’t drink coffee could lose his nationality!
Good Lebanese coffee is made with a rakweh (special coffee pot).
Consider asking your guests how they take their coffee: with or without sugar, since sugar is added during preparation, not afterward.
When you drink Lebanese coffee, stop before you reach the grounds (tefl) left in the bottom of the cup.
- Place the water and coffee in the rakweh; set over medium heat. To ensure the coffee is well distributed, stir continually.
- Before it comes to a boil, the coffee will start to rise. Using a spoon, remove the foam (achweh) that forms on the surface and place it into each of the cups.
- Return the rakweh to the heat and let the coffee rise up three times.
- Serve the coffee to the guests who prefer it plain.
- For the others, add the sugar, mix and let it boil up again.
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