Sharjah: A showcase of 29 world cultures, the Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD) is also paying homage to the centuries-old coffee drinking tradition of the UAE in a recreated ‘Bedouin Village’.
Coffee is the symbol of hospitality in Arabian heritage, and so it is with a cup of ‘gahwa’ (coffee) and dates that a veteran coffee maker is welcoming visitors to SHD, currently underway at the Heart of Sharjah historic district until April 10.
Mohammad Ahmad Al Tamimi brews Arabic coffee over a fireplace dug into the ground. Seated on the sand, like the Bedouins of the past, he roasts aromatic Arabica beans over the wood-burnt fire, in a small circular pan. It is the differences in the roasting technique that makes the flavours of each region distinct, Al Tamimi says, who proceeds to powder the beans when it turns just the right shade. A dash of saffron and cardamom are added after brewing to balance the high-intense, full-bodied flavour of the beverage. Occasionally, rose water is added to enhance the aroma.
Al Tamimi uses three types of ‘dallah’ or traditional coffee pots to prepare the coffee — one for boiling, one for filtering, and another for serving.
Visitors can also head over to the ‘Mountain Environment’ section at the festival to savour another cup of hot Arabic coffee prepared in a similar manner.
With the coffee-drinking culture so deeply entrenched in the Middle Eastern culture, SHD also offers a choice of speciality coffees to cater to all tastes. At Cofina, located at the food trucks area, it is the Spanish Latte that is the best seller. Italian coffee lovers can head to ‘Signature’ where the Caramel Latte and White Mocha are hot sellers.