Is kahwa facing competition from western coffee?

Muscat, Feb 17 – Kahwa — the Arabic word for coffee in Oman — is an intrinsic part of Omani hospitality and whose method of preparation is different from that of non-Arab nations. Countries in the Middle East have developed their own unique way of brewing and preparing coffee. However, with the ‘invasion’ of western coffee chains that offer a variety of flavours, including espresso, in big cities, a question comes to the mind. Has there been any change in the way Omani coffee is being consumed?

While not as healthy as Omani coffee, the western coffee has invaded the local market, making people try out other types of coffee as a substitute for Arabic coffee. Abdullah al Aufi, for instance, loves the strong taste of espresso. He feels Omani coffee is not as strong as espresso or Turkish coffee. According to him, people now make coffee from dates seeds, which produces very light coffee. According to him: “Arabic coffee is one of the best in the world as it is grown in soil rich in nutrients necessary for better growth of a tree, giving it a superior taste.”

The Observer has learned that attempts have been made by some farmers to grow Arabic coffee in Jabal al Akhdhar. Ahmed al Saqri, an entrepreneur, has planted four coffee saplings brought from Yemen, which will take at least three more months before he can start seeing results. “Coffee should be planted in open areas such as wadis (which is what he has tried to do). When the weather gets warmer, we hope to see good output,” he said.
Research has revealed climate changes around the world was threatening the growth of Arabic coffee.
“Rising temperatures and reduced rainfall could render as much as 60 per cent of Ethiopia’s coffee-growing areas unsuitable for cultivation by end of the century,” according to a new study.
Fifteen million Ethiopian farmers, or 15 per cent of the country’s population, depend on the coffee industry.
On the health front, studies have revealed Arabic coffee intake can help minimise the onset of ailments such as diabetes, dementia, heart diseases, and even some forms of cancer.
They say coffee should be consumed in moderate quantities as it contains caffeine, which could result in the constriction of blood vessels.
Therefore, people with conditions such as high blood pressure and insomnia have been advised to avoid or cut down on coffee intake.