Since its discovery, many years ago, coffee has arguably become one of the most popular drinks in the world. Some people enjoy a cup of coffee as breakfast, while others take it during a formal engagement such as during a meeting or a date. It is for this reason that many researchers associated with the study of coffee have dedicated most of their efforts in discovering new types of coffee, improved methods of refining it, and also the most appropriate methods of preparing coffee. The reasons and impacts of drinking coffee are limitless. There are communities which relate coffee to various religious situations, others relate it strictly specific occasions while others simply take coffee for its health benefits. This paper seeks to compare the Arabic coffee from Saudi Arabia, Turkish coffee and the espresso coffee from Italy particularly in relation to its symbolism, healing or health benefits and its association with certain forms of celebration.
In regard Arabic coffee, it is a general term that is used to refer to the method of preparation of coffee in the Arabic countries such as the Saudi Coffee and Turkey-style coffee. In comparison with the Turkish style coffee, the Saudi Coffee, which is popularly referred to as “Al-Qahwa” in the local dialect, is a method of coffee preparation that entails roasting the coffee beans very lightly especially from temperatures ranging from 165°C to 210°C and cardamom (Ellis 73). Saudi coffee is a traditional beverage that is a favourite in the Arabic communities where it is roasted at home or in different occasions, ground, brewed and ultimately served for the guest. In the Arabian world, Al-Qahwa is a symbol of hospitality. In fact, the article Everything You’ll Need to Know Vol. 30 Coffee Recipes authored by R.C Ellis, claims that, in the Arabian Gulf, hospitality is not considered complete without a cup of Al-Qahwa. Saudi coffee is served both during the day and the night, in parties, weddings and all forms of social gathering. The Saudi coffee is normally served best with sweet things such as candied fruits and dates. In Arabia, coffee is also a preferred drink as a result of religious issues. Since the Muslim doctrines forbids the drinking of alcohol, most believers consider coffee as the best alternative that abides by the Islamic requirements. Additionally, Al-Qahwa is also popular in the Arabic world for its healing power related to the brain. The coffee fanatics in Saudi Arabia believes that coffee is a good drink which helps the brain to repair itself and thus enhances memory and therefore a person would not forget about a certain issue easily. They also place in high regard the healing power of coffee because they believe that it helps in removing other toxic substances in the body, thus assists in detoxification.
On the other hand, Turkish coffee also denotes a method of preparing coffee. However, unlike the Saudi Coffee, which is heat to temperatures of beyond 200°C, the Turkish coffee preparation entails slightly roasting and the grinding finely the coffee beans and boiling them in a pot with sugar. Long handheld brass and copper pots which are known as Cezve are used in this preparation that results into a surprisingly thick type of coffee that is filled with sweetness (Zhang and Robert 28). The Turkish coffee is symbolic for its role in the aspect of interactions. Turkish coffee is popularly known as the main drink that was preferred by the Turkish society for more than a century ago when the countrymen met in a coffeehouse to have a conversation. Surprisingly, even in the modern times, the Turkish society still hold coffee in high regard due to its social importance. Some of the occasions and traditions that are related to coffee in the Turkish community is when a man was just about to marry a woman, his parents would visit the bride-to-be house after which it was a requirement that the bride should prepare the best quality of the Turkish coffee to the parents of the groom. This was basically meant to test her prowess in preparing coffee.
Although coffee is not largely attributed to a religious aspect, most members of the Turkish community consider it as a blessing to the humanity due to their belief that it increases an individual lifespan (Illy, Andrea, and Rinantonio 121). There is a belief with the Turkish-style coffee that it helps in prevent the different types of diabetes due to its ability to control blood sugar level, and also controls blood pressure. These are among the health benefit that are attributable to the Turkish coffee. Nonetheless, since the Turkish coffee entails a blend of strong coffee, cardamom and sugar, this type of coffee is, therefore, sweeter than any other type of coffee. It is for this reason that, the excessive consumption of the Turkish coffee especially that which has been prepared using a lot of sugar can as well result into health related complications. It is obviously that sugar is a major shortcoming when it comes to issue such as the nutritional benefit that can be derived from the Turkish coffee. After reviewing numerous articles, it becomes apparent that, the quality of any coffee brand depends on how it has been ground. Therefore, since the Turkish coffee involves finely grinding the coffee beans, an enviable end result is realized when it comes to the preparation of the Turkish coffee. Most of the occasions when the Turkish coffee is consumed are similar to the occasions when the Saudi coffee is also taken. It is also regarded as a major drink that is used to portray hospitality.
In addition, the comparison between the two previously discussed types of coffee and the Italian Espresso hold numerous things in common. The Italian Espresso is a type of coffee preparation that involves forcing a very small amount of boiling water which is under pressure through already ground coffee beans. When compared to other types of coffee preparation methods, Espresso is normally thicker than the other types of ground coffee. Additionally, when looking at espresso, it usually has a higher concentration of dissolved and suspended solids forming its crema or cream. According to a research carried out by Andrea Illy and Viani Rinantonio, the espresso type of coffee contains the largest amount of caffeine when compared to the other types of coffee. In fact, it is worth noting that, in most of the English speaking countries, Espresso became most popular in its form as cappuccino. This is because, unlike in the Arabian countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey who prefer coffee without milk, in the English speaking countries, majority of the people there prefer have a great appeal to the foam lattes and when prepared using milk as an ingredient.
Espresso is arguably one of the most prosperous symbols that can fall under “made in Italy” phrase. It has a symbolism of great quality that is attributable to the Italians way of life. According to the Italian culture, the great taste of Espresso correlates with the method of serving it. In an ideal situation, the Italian Espresso is served in small white cup which is elliptical in its shape, and that is free of any form of inside decorations. They argue that, this is the only type of cup that is capable of fully portraying the excellent look of the Espresso froth. Similar to the two other forms of coffee preparation, the Espresso is also consumed in many different occasions. However, it would be hard to deny that espresso coffee is largely consumed in high end café and occasions. For the Espresso, despite the fact that it was discovered and developed in Italy, there are other countries such as Ethiopia and Eritrea who have fully adopted Espresso in their coffee drinking ceremonies. These ceremonies entails a ritualised form of making and drinking coffee amongst the community members. Unlike the other two types of coffee preparation, espresso is not the regularly prepared home drink, it is mostly attributed to high class consumers who clearly understand the level of quality that comes with this type of coffee. It has a look of excellent froth that is admirable, the wonderful smell and also the great smooth taste of this type of coffee makes it the best choice for quality coffee taken in a bar or restaurant. This Italian coffee is also consumed by some individuals because of its health benefits that they believe exists in the Espresso coffee. R. C Ellis explains that, one of the health benefit derived from this type of coffee is its ability to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, liver cirrhosis and other memory loss related issues that normally occur as a result of aging.
Conclusively, it becomes evident that coffee serves almost similar roles in most societies in the world. The taste of coffee also differs due to the form of preparation. The Saudi coffee in most cases is not as sweet as that which has been prepared based on the Turkish style. It is important to understand that the Turkish coffee, Saudi coffee and the Espresso, are not types of coffee but a method of preparation. Therefore, the quality of coffee in any three comparisons depends on the type of coffee beans used in the grinding process. Nonetheless, there are various religious restrictions that are connected to the consumption of coffee in most parts of the world. For instance, in case of the Saudi coffee, the Islam religion forbids the uptake of coffee for the Muslim believers during the period of Ramadan, where the believers who profess to this religion are expected to fast day and night, food and drinks are not allowed during this period. In general, the three types of coffee preparation have an immense impact and significance to their respective communities, most of these significance appears to be the same in terms of ceremonies and health related factors.
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Illy, Andrea, and Rinantonio Viani, eds. Espresso coffee: the science of quality. Academic
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