Middle East

The legacy of Saudi coffee has permeated across generations

For Farah Al-Malki, growing coffee in Jazan, southwestern Saudi Arabia, is more than just a profession. It is a family tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. The 90-year-old patriarch has a long history of coffee and spread from Ethiopia to Yemen and other parts of the Middle East around the 15th century.

“My father inherited it from his grandfather, and I took it over to my son and then to my grandson,” he said as his male relatives pruning the tree. While watching, Maruki talked to AFP. Jazan is known for its red cowrani coffee beans, which blend with cardamom and saffron to give it a yellowish coffee tint. Locally called Gawa, it tastes significantly different from the bitter black liquids drank elsewhere in the Middle East and the West.

The government has designated 2022 as the “Year of Saudi Coffee” as it continues to be an integral part of Saudi culture. Dating in homes and royal palaces throughout the kingdom, breaking down social hierarchy barriers and being considered a symbol of hospitality and generosity.
Wearing traditional coffee farmer costumes, dark “chemise” shirts, ankle-length skirts called “wizla”, and belts with daggers, Marqui is still a field of all ages. I am taking care of you.

“The biggest problem we once had was the lack of water and support,” Marqui said. But with the Kingdom’s desire to diversify its economy from oil and social changes that transform the country’s ultra-conservative image and open it up to visitors and investors, the government launched a campaign to promote coffee last month. have started. It instructed all restaurants and cafes to use the term “Saudi coffee” instead of Arabic coffee. Most state-owned oil companies, Saudi Aramco, have announced plans to set up a coffee center in Jazan using “advanced irrigation technology to improve agricultural capacity.”

UNESCO dreams

By the end of 2021, the Kingdom had 400,000 coffee trees on 600 farms nationwide, producing about 800 tonnes of coffee annually. This is only a small part of Ethiopia’s production, but national reports indicate that Saudi Arabia will plant 1.2 million Kaulani trees by 2025. marketing.

Every day in the field is Ahmed, a 42-year-old son. He, like his father, wears traditional peasant clothing with a headdress made of flowers. He said he had a deep knowledge of Cowrani coffee beans and explained that “all farms are organic and do not use chemicals.” They produce about 2.5 tonnes of coffee beans annually and sell for $ 27 to $ 40 per kilogram ($ 12 to $ 18 per pound).

A farmer-unrelated historian, Yahya al-Marqui, told AFP that the “secret” of kaulani beans lies in their cultivation in the warm, humid and rainy Jazan region. Saudi Arabia aims to include the cultivation of Kaulani coffee in the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind” managed by the United Nations Cultural Organization UNESCO.

Ahmed said this would make his dream come true. “It not only helps farmers and protects coffee trees, but also helps attract foreign investors to the area,” he told AFP. “I hope this is passed on to his sons and their sons and will be a source of their livelihood.” — AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/saudi-coffee-legacy-percolates-through-the-generations/ The legacy of Saudi coffee has permeated across generations

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