In the hot Egyptian climate, one of the best places to sit in the evening is an open-air coffee shop and refresh yourself with some drinks.
A coffee shop is the usual meeting place for friends. It is also a great place to sit and enjoy the Egyptians favourite, football. Matches are watched by big groups, that can be heard from all around. During Ramadan, coffee shops are a popular place to sit following iftar (breaking of the fast after sunset).
In Egyptian Arabic, Kahwa means coffee and can also mean a coffee shop. They are used like local pubs in the West, where friends & family from the neighborhood gather. As in Europe, coffee shops are often found at the side of the street.
The main item served in a coffee shop is the sheesha or hookah pipe. You will not find any American coffee in a coffee shop. All drinks are traditional and include tea (with or without fresh mint leaves), Turkish coffee and tamarind.
Fresh juices from seasonal fruits are popular during the hotter summer months, like; mango, guava, strawberry and watermelon. The most popular, however, is lemon juice, that can be ordered with or without mint is available throughout the year.
The source of entertainment in a coffee shop is usually board games like backgammon, chess, tawla and dominos. You will often find small tournaments taking place.
Coffee shops are friendly meeting places where you can spend hours with close friends or meeting new friends.
In Egypt, ground coffee beans are added to hot water with sugar and cooked in a bronze pot called a kanaka. The waiter will bring a canon and a small cup or glass on the tray & then carefully pour the drink.
You should always specify the quantity of sugar in the drink when ordering.
- Coffee without sugar is kahwa seda.
- Coffee with a little sugar is kahwa arriha.
- Coffee with an average amount of sugar is kahwa mazbuta.
- Coffee very sweet, is khawa eats.
Do you like your coffee this way?
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