Saudi culture minister meets Mexican counterpart

RIYADH: “Cardamom, cloves, ginger and a pinch of saffron — that’s the scent that envelops me as my grandparents rush us into their dining room, teasing us that, once again, we’re hardly arrived on time,” 16-year-old Lana Ghassan said.

This uplifting aroma, reminiscent of home and family, is often associated with hospitality, generosity and welcoming hugs at formal family gatherings and occasions.

For many, it is a tradition. Every evening, fresh coffee is prepared and served in a dallah, a traditional coffee maker.

“When I inhale this specific scent, it brings me back to a very special memory that belongs to me; my parents, brother, aunts and cousins ​​gathered together to break our fast as the muezzin calls for prayer every Ramadan,” Ghassan told Arab News.

Today, Saudi coffee has transcended tradition to become part of the identity of Saudis. In a mix of nostalgia and modernity, it has become a matter of national pride for a generation that relies on drinking as a daily necessity.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has seen a boom in the coffee industry, with new cafes and roasters opening in malls and streets across the Kingdom.

The Saudi Coffee Company was launched in May to develop the domestic industry and promote Saudi coffee beans as a global product. (Provided)

Coffee consumption in Saudi Arabia grew by 4% per year from 2016 to 2021 and is expected to increase by 5% per year until 2026, according to data from Euromonitor.

The trade name of Arabic coffee was changed to Saudi coffee following an announcement by the Ministry of Commerce earlier this year.

In May, the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund launched the Saudi Coffee Company to develop domestic industry, increase production capacity and promote Saudi coffee beans as a global product.

As the government invests in coffee production and promotion, local cafes have quickly embraced Saudi coffee, adapting it and adding it to their range of specialty coffees.

Toqa Coffee, for example, serves spiced coffee, like saffron latte and cardamom cappuccino. Its Saudi coffee “toqaccino”, which revisits the traditional drink, is gaining popularity with customers.

These “modern blends” help cafes attract attention and demonstrate the creativity of the coffee industry, said Abdullah Al-Shareef, coffee specialist at Wide Awake Cafe in Jeddah.

“Saudi coffee has become popular with the current generation,” he said, adding that cafes are creating new flavors to meet and boost demand.

Another cafe, Bafarat, was established in 1952 and today serves everything from artisanal coffee to traditional Saudi coffee at outlets in Jeddah and London.

Coffee blends, roasts and dispenses daily from its roasting plant to ensure the freshest coffee possible. His Saudi coffee, lightly roasted and infused with fragrant cardamom and saffron, is served in a dallah.

The chic new Azha cafe at the House hotel in Jeddah is part of local company Caffeine Lab, which specializes in everything from professional equipment costing thousands of riyals to accessories and everyday coffee beans.

“Caffeine Lab is a local specialty coffeeshop that has gone the extra mile to create a separate cafe called Azha that specializes in Saudi coffee,” barista Ridhwan Al-Momen told Arab News.

The chic new Azha cafe at the House hotel in Jeddah is part of local business Caffeine Lab. (Provided)

“Our specialty Saudi coffee is harvested from Caffeine Lab’s premium crops, to ensure the freshest coffee blend is served to the customer,” he added.

Suhaib Bahassan, co-founder of Bancam, a casual restaurant in Riyadh that serves breakfast and coffee specialties, said: “Saudi coffee is an integral part of people’s daily lives and has become the cornerstone of meetings. , foyers and outdoors.

Saudi coffee “is a wonderful example of hospitality in Saudi Arabia”, he added.

It is particularly popular among young people, and because “the current generation is open to development” when it comes to Saudi coffee, the drink will become the “preferred coffee of the current and future generation”.

More than a symbol of pride for Saudi Arabia, Saudi coffee has spread throughout the Kingdom and beyond to become part of every Saudi’s identity.

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