DUBAI is not blessed with enough fertile land to produce coffee, but the largest city in the United Arab Emirates has a strong connection with this brownish black drink.
This obsession also manifests itself through the Coffee Museum which is located in the Al Fahidi Neighborhood, an old city area on the coast of the Dubai estuary. Like most destinations in the Al Fahidi area, the Coffee Museum offers a different Dubai experience compared to the world’s tallest buildings and noisy malls of various brands.
Each visitor only needs to spend 10 Arab Emirates dirhams (AED) or approximately IDR43 thousand to enter the private museum which occupies an old two-story building that is almost 200 years old. Three rooms in the Coffee Museum display a collection of various coffee production equipment, from mills to teapots used to brew the drink.
You can also trace the history of coffee, whose properties are believed to have first been “discovered” by shepherds in the Ethiopian plains after their goats stayed up all night because they consumed coffee beans.
These things can be found in the mini library which contains various literature about coffee, the screening room for documentary films about coffee, as well as large infographics displayed in one of the rooms.
As one of the largest coffee producing countries in the world, Indonesia is also showcased at the Coffee Museum through Sumatran coffee beans which are side by side with coffee beans from Brazil, Peru and of course Ethiopia.
The Coffee Museum entrance ticket also includes a pot of Arabic coffee mixed with spices such as cardamom, turmeric and kumu-kumu or saffron.
While the people of Aceh often add pieces of palm sugar every time they sip their coffee, people in the Arabian Peninsula enjoy Arabic coffee accompanied by dates to provide a natural sweetener. For the people of the Arabian Peninsula in general or Dubai in particular, coffee has a special place in their daily culture.
Guide from the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), Khaula, said that coffee is a welcome drink that hosts serve every time they receive guests.
It may sound strange, considering that tribal communities in Dubai and the Arabian Peninsula move around or inhabit expanses of desert.
However, Khaula said that coffee was the host’s first gesture to open up and build trust with his guests. The youngest member of the family/tribe is to pour coffee from the same pot into small cups that the host and guests drink together, to ensure that the meeting is based on trust.
“In order to eliminate suspicion between tribes visiting each other, the hosts ensure that they do not poison the water served to guests in the form of brewed coffee,” Khaula concluded. [antaranews]