Coffee- culture, history, and heritage

In Arab culture, no consumer product carries as much cultural, ethnic, historical and even social weight as coffee. The simple dark-colored drink has become a cultural symbol and a witness to social and cultural changes that have occurred throughout history, leading up to modern times and beyond.

Arabic coffee has been a part of many societies, participating in diverse social events and everyday situations, at weddings, funerals, births, campfire gatherings, reconciliation talks, bride-meeting ceremonies, and when greeting a guest who has returned home. Coffee divides time in two- everything that happens before coffee is served, and everything that happens after it’s served. In the Arab mindset, happiness comes, and any outstanding problems are solved, after drinking coffee. The very moment when the coffee is sipped and the invitation to drink coffee are special rituals surrounded by an atmosphere of fear and suspense. They are an opportunity for people to meet, sit down, and warm up to each other. This is why so many stories, jokes, parables, and folk tales are exchanged in the presence of coffee, a drink that is such an essential part of Arab society and a symbol of social change.

Thanks to coffee’s central role as a tool for social and cultural change in the Arab lifestyle, we can find dozens of songs about coffee, reminiscing about drinking coffee, or needing to meet a friend over a cup of coffee. People spread folk tales that discussed coffee as one of the features of the Arab national character, which includes honor, magnanimity and generosity.
Arab poets have a special, warm affection for coffee, which is expressed throughout the history of Arab poetry, and is the true shaper of the soul of Arab society. Arab poetry and coffee are an old love song that predates language, and there were nearly no early poems or fables that didn’t mention coffee and the connection between coffee and the poet. In this context, we can recall the text of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, in his masterpiece, “A Memory for Forgetfulness”, as well as other poetic and prosaic texts.