Coffee: an enduring Jordanian tradition

By Muath Freij JORDAN TIMES

Nowadays, coffee is typically ground and brewed in special machines. In the past, bedouins used to grind their coffee with an instrument called a mehbash and boil it on wood fires (Photo by Muath Freij)

AMMAN – Since pre-modern times, coffee has been a symbol of Jordan’s heritage and a centrepiece of traditional Jordanian hospitality, according to Ahmad Abu Rumman.

The tribal leader, who identified himself as a sheikh of the Ramamna tribe in the Muqablein neighbourhood, noted that serving coffee is often a symbolic act indicating a particular social transaction.

“For example, when a Jordanian faces a problem with another person, his family goes to the other person’s family to resolve the dispute. When the host asks them to drink coffee, it means the problem is resolved,” Abu Rumman explained.

“Coffee is also served on other occasions such as Eid, weddings and periods of mourning,” he told The Jordan Times at his home in Muqablein, adding that Jordanians spend a lot of money on coffee when hosting a gathering.

Abu Rumman said bedouins used to grind their coffee with an instrument called a mehbash and boil it on wood fires, whereas today coffee is typically ground and brewed in special machines.

Bedouins from the countryside would come to Amman to buy coffee beans from the capital’s herb and spice vendors, which were the only places that sold coffee, the sheikh noted.

While the technicalities of obtaining, producing and serving coffee have changed with the times, Jordanians’ traditional attachment to the beverage remains the same as always.

Ahmad Joundi, who works at Shaheen Roastery in Amman, said demand for coffee increased by 60 per cent during the Eid holiday.

“Coffee is a Jordanian tradition and a must-buy item during Eid. This occasion is a peak season for us and other coffee stores in Amman,” he told The Jordan Times at the shop.

Categories: Asia, Jordan

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