MUSCAT, Oct 21 – Omani coffee has always been an integral part of the Omani’s life over the years. It has been considered a deep-rooted legacy that can never be dispensed. Omani coffee is present in every single house and it suits all times of the day. Especially with the elderly, Omani coffee is an essential part of their daily routine. It is also a unique custom of the Omani hospitality that cannot be broken off.
“We have known coffee forever. We start our day with coffee and we have headaches,” Taleb al Abri, an elderly, said laughing.
Drinking Omani coffee has its own rituals. It is like a tradition that is inherited over generations. It is a ‘shame’ to ignore these traditions or skip them. For example, it is never allowed to hand the coffee to the guest with the left hand. And, the cup should be filled at only quarter as filling it to top is interpreted as disrespect. If the cup has a crack, even if it was unnoticeable, it cannot be used especially with guests in the house. When the guest feels that he had enough coffee, he should slightly shake the cup while handing it to his host, as an indication for him to stop pouring. He cannot ever put it down on floor.
“This is how we used to do. Our parents taught us this virtue and we are passing it on to our children” Mohammed al Wahibi, a man at Muttrah Souq, said.
Gaining popularity among the old and the youth, preparing the Omani coffee is as simple as enjoying it. It consists of only water and coffee beans, which are cooked for about 10 minutes. It is served usually with dates or any kind of Omani famous sweets. Yet, people say it tastes sweeter when cooked by wood. “During our camping trips, coffee is a priority. We enjoy having it in the cold nights while gathering around the fire. Of course we use wood to start a fire and cook it in the desert. It really tastes much better,” Turky al Fazari, a camper, said.
The Omani coffee is also a part of the Omani women’s life. By the forenoon, women in almost every wilayat have this habit of gathering and having coffee at a certain place previously agreed upon. “Almost every Omani woman prepare the Omani coffee along with breakfast. It should be there standby for all or for any sudden visits,” Afrah al Hashmi, a housewife said.
Not only for in-house use, the Omani coffee is served during weddings, bereavement, birthday celebrations, and other events. This habit still exists all over the country.
Zainab al Nassri