Explore the rich history of Middle Eastern coffee, from its origins in Ethiopia and Yemen to its role in social and cultural life across the region. Immerse yourself in the unique coffee techniques and equipment used, such as preparing over an open flame and using a cezve or ibrik. Discover the regional nuances of traditional Middle Eastern coffee roasting methods, from light roasts in the Levant to dark roasts in Saudi Arabia. Learn how to prepare Turkish and Arabic coffee and the etiquette and customs that surround their consumption, like the reading of coffee grounds (tasseography) and the significance of coffee in religious practices. Finally, take a tour of other regional coffee preparations, such as Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Persian coffee.
History of Middle Eastern Coffee
Origins in Ethiopia and Yemen
Coffee is believed to have originated in Ethiopia, where it is said that a goat herder named Kaldi discovered the energizing properties of the coffee bean. The story goes that Kaldi observed his goats staying awake and lively after consuming the red cherries from coffee plants. Seeing this, he decided to try the cherries himself and noticed similar effects. Kaldi eventually shared his discovery with the local monastery, where the monks found that coffee helped them stay awake during their long hours of prayer.
The cultivation and consumption of coffee then spread from Ethiopia to Yemen, where it was first cultivated as a commercial crop in the 15th century. The coffee trade from Yemen to the Arab world was primarily done through the port city of Mocha, which would eventually lend its name to the popular coffee drink. Sufi mystics in Yemen were among the earliest people to drink coffee, using it to help them stay awake for their late-night religious practices.
During this period, coffee was primarily consumed at home, often in secret. It was seen as a spiritual drink that took the drinker closer to God, and many people were cautious about sharing their secret knowledge at the risk of being accused of heresy.
Spread to the Ottoman Empire
The coffee trade spread to the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century, where the popular drink began to transform the culture of the region. Turkish merchants first encountered coffee in the Yemeni city of Mocha and brought the beans, as well as the knowledge for preparing coffee, back to Istanbul, Constantinople.
At first, coffee was primarily enjoyed within the Ottoman Empire’s urban elite, but it quickly extended its reach to the broader population. Public coffeehouses, or kahvehane, started to appear in Istanbul in the mid-16th century and quickly became popular social gathering spots.
Coffeehouses played a vital role in the spread of coffee in the Ottoman Empire. These establishments were more than just places to drink coffee; they were also centers of social life and places to exchange ideas, information, gossip, and news. Coffeehouses provided a space where people of different social classes could come together, breaking down social barriers, and facilitating political and intellectual discussions.
The influx of coffee and the increasing popularity of coffeehouses did worry some religious authorities, who were concerned that drinking coffee could lead to moral decay. Some even argued that coffee was a form of intoxication and should be banned. However, their efforts to suppress coffee consumption were ultimately unsuccessful, and coffee continued to flourish throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond.
Role in Social and Cultural Life
Coffee became an integral part of Middle Eastern social and cultural life in the centuries that followed. One of the most significant contributions to coffee culture was the development of unique coffee-making processes, including the finely ground Turkish coffee, which is served unfiltered and highly concentrated. The Ottoman Empire also helped popularize the practice of adding sugar, spices, and other flavorings to coffee, distinguishing Middle Eastern coffee traditions from European and American brewing methods.
Middle Eastern coffeehouses continued to evolve as central hubs for intellectual discussions, artistic expression, entertainment, and socializing. Storytellers, poets, musicians, and chess players were regularly featured in coffeehouses, while astrologers and mathematicians provided coffee drinkers insights into the stars and mathematics. Visiting a coffeehouse was also an occasion to share news, discuss politics, and engage in debate.
Coffee became an essential aspect of Middle Eastern hospitality, with its preparation and consumption becoming a ritualized process. When welcoming guests, the host often prepares coffee over an open fire, using a special long-handled pot known as a cezve. Coffee is typically served with sweets and accompanied by conversation. Refusing a cup of coffee can be seen as disrespectful to the host.
In summary, the history of Middle Eastern coffee played an essential role in shaping the region’s social and cultural life. From its humble beginnings, coffee spread across the Middle East, becoming an essential part of everyday life and a symbol of hospitality, while coffeehouses transformed into centers of intellectual and artistic expression.
Key Middle Eastern Coffee Techniques and Equipment
The Middle Eastern coffee culture holds great significance, and the region is even named as the birthplace of coffee. The traditional preparation methods and serving styles of coffee differ from Western culture, making it a unique experience to enjoy a cup of Middle Eastern coffee. In this article, we will explore some key techniques and equipment used in Middle Eastern coffee preparation.
Using a cezve or ibrik
A cezve, also known as an ibrik, is a small, long-handled pot historically made of copper, brass or even silver. It has been the primary tool for brewing Middle Eastern coffee for centuries. A traditional cezve has a narrow neck and pour spout, making it easier to control the water flow while pouring. The small size is designed to make one or two cups of coffee at a time.
To make coffee using a cezve, water and sugar (if desired) are added to the pot and stirred until the sugar dissolves. Next, finely ground coffee is added to the water and stirred until fully combined. The cezve is then heated over low heat, typically using an open flame. When the mixture begins to froth and foam, it is promptly removed from the heat source to prevent boiling, as boiling can ruin the delicate flavors of the coffee. This process is often repeated two or three times to extract the most flavor from the grounds. Once the process is completed, the coffee is poured into small cups similar to espresso cups, called finjan, allowing the sediments to settle at the bottom of the cup.
Preparing over an open flame
An open flame plays a crucial role in the brewing process of Middle Eastern coffee. The heat source is often a small, portable stove or a fire made from wood or coal. It is essential to use low heat, as cooking coffee at high temperatures can cause it to burn or develop a bitter taste. Brewing over an open flame allows the coffee to be evenly heated, resulting in a rich and robust flavor.
In Turkey, sand is sometimes used as a heat source for brewing coffee. The cezve is partially buried in the hot sand, which evenly distributes heat around the pot. This unique method ensures precise temperature control and a remarkably consistent brewing process.
Grinding coffee beans
Freshly ground coffee beans are essential for making a delicious cup of Middle Eastern-style coffee. A medium to dark roast blend is ideal, and the beans must be ground very finely – to a consistency resembling powdered sugar. This is because the coffee grounds are not filtered out during the brewing process, so a fine grind ensures a smoother, less gritty texture in the final brew. Historically, coffee was ground by hand using a mortar and pestle or a specialized coffee grinder with a grinding mechanism similar to a pepper mill. Today, electric grinders can be used to achieve the desired fine grind.
The importance of water quality
The quality of water used in preparing Middle Eastern coffee is essential for achieving the perfect taste. Ideally, pure spring or filtered water should be used, as tap water can contain minerals or impurities that may alter the coffee’s taste. The water-to-coffee ratio also plays an important role in determining the strength and flavor of the brew. Generally, one to two teaspoons of coffee is used per three ounces of water. Adjusting the ratio can result in a stronger or weaker brew, depending on personal preferences.
By understanding and implementing these traditional Middle Eastern coffee techniques and using the proper equipment, it is possible to recreate an authentic and delectable cup of coffee at home. Savoring a well-crafted cup of Middle Eastern coffee is not only about indulging in its rich and fragrant flavors but also appreciating the long-standing cultural heritage and significance behind the brewing process.
Traditional Middle Eastern Coffee Roasting Methods
The Middle East is home to a rich and diverse coffee culture. Each region boasts its own unique styles and customs when it comes to coffee roasting and preparation. Coffee has always had a central role in Middle Eastern culture, and it remains an integral aspect of social life in the region. The main differences in coffee roasting methods across the Middle East can be simplified into three categories: light roast (popular in Levant and Egypt), medium roast (popular in Turkey), and dark roast (popular in Saudi Arabia).
Light Roast in the Levant and Egypt
Light roast coffee, also known as the ‘blonde roast’, is favored in the Levant and Egypt. This roasting style is characterized by its bright, fruity notes and subtle flavors. Similarly, light roasting requires a shorter time and lower temperature compared to other styles, which allows the intrinsic flavors of the coffee beans to remain prominent. The result is a nuanced and aromatic brew that retains most of its natural caffeine content.
In the Levant and Egypt, light roast coffee is traditionally pan-roasted using a shallow, wide skillet known as the ‘mehmas’. The coffee beans are roasted gently at a low temperature, allowing them to develop a light golden-brown hue with a slightly grainy texture. Typically, the roasting process for light roast coffee in this region takes approximately 10-15 minutes.
During the roasting process, the beans may be combined with spices such as cardamom, clove, or cinnamon, which enhances their nutty and subdued flavors. The light roasting method is favored in these regions because of the pleasant, mild taste it provides, making it the perfect accompaniment for sweet desserts and pastries.
Medium Roast in Turkey
Turkey is renowned for its distinctive coffee culture, which features the iconic Turkish coffee brewed using the medium roast method, commonly referred to as the ‘city roast’. Medium roasting is slightly darker and more intense than light roasting, but still preserves many of the coffee beans’ distinct characteristics.
Turkish coffee is traditionally roasted in a shallow, drum-like container known as ‘cezve’ or ‘ibrik’. The process involves heating the beans over hot sand or embers, which evenly distributes heat to ensure a consistent and even roast. Medium-roasted Turkish coffee has a sweet and balanced taste profile, showcasing the beans’ natural oils, sugars, and unique flavors.
Spices such as cardamom are often added during the roasting process, contributing to the alluring aroma and taste of Turkish coffee. The brew is thick and robust, typically served with a cup of water to cleanse the palate between sips and accentuate the coffee’s delightful flavors.
Dark Roast in Saudi Arabia
Dark roast coffee is the preferred style in Saudi Arabia, where it’s known as ‘Arabic coffee’ or ‘Qahwah Arabiyya’. This method of roasting involves exposing the coffee beans to higher temperatures for a longer period of time, resulting in a dark and bold flavor profile. The beans take on a deep, dark brown color with a slightly oily surface.
Arabic coffee is traditionally pan-roasted in a shallow, slightly curved metallic container known as ‘dallah’. Before roasting, the coffee beans are often combined with spices such as cardamom, saffron, and cloves, resulting in a rich and complex aroma. The extended roasting process brings out the full-bodied, intense flavors of the beans while simultaneously reducing their acidity and caffeine content.
Dark roast Arabic coffee is typically served in small, ornately designed cups, allowing the drinker to savor the taste and aroma between sociable, leisurely sips. At social gatherings, it is customary to serve dates or other sweet snacks along with Arabic coffee, creating a harmonious interplay between the strong, dark brew and the sugary treats.
In summary, coffee roasting methods in the Middle East vary greatly from one region to another, reflecting the cultural diversity and rich history of the area. From the light and delicate flavors of Levantine and Egyptian coffee to the medium-roast Turkish coffee and the bold, dark Arabic brew, each style offers a unique and unforgettable coffee experience.
Preparing Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee, traditionally made in a cezve (a small copper pot), stands out for its rich flavor and unique preparation. Known for its fine grind and distinctive frothy top, Turkish coffee requires attention to detail and patience. Follow these steps for an unforgettable and enjoyable Turkish coffee experience.
Ingredients and Ratios
To prepare Turkish coffee, you will need the following ingredients:
– Freshly roasted coffee beans, ideally Arabica
– Cold filtered water
– Sugar or sweetener (optional)
– Cardamom (optional)
Ratios play a crucial role in achieving the perfect taste and consistency. The recommended ratio for traditional Turkish coffee is 1:10 (coffee to water). This means that for every 10 grams (or ml) of cold water, you should use 1 gram of coffee. You can scale this ratio as needed for the number of servings desired.
For sweetness, adjust the sugar ratio as per your preference. Typical sweetness levels are:
– Unsweetened (sade): no sugar
– Slightly sweet (az şekerli): 0.5-1 teaspoons of sugar per cup
– Moderately sweet (orta): 1-1.5 teaspoons of sugar per cup
– Very sweet (şekerli): 2 teaspoons or more of sugar per cup
Remember, you will need to know your desired sweetness level before beginning the brewing process.
Grinding and sieving the coffee
The grind of Turkish coffee is one of the key elements that sets it apart. The coffee should be ground to a fine powder-like consistency, much finer than espresso grind. You can achieve this by using a specialized Turkish coffee grinder or a high-quality electric grinder with adjustable settings.
After grinding, it’s recommended that you sift the coffee through a fine sieve to remove any larger particles or coffee dust left from the grinding process. This ensures a smoother overall texture and taste.
Mixing coffee, sugar, and water
In your cezve or small pot, pour cold water according to the ratio mentioned above. To equalize the concentration, mix the sugar and coffee into the cold water using a teaspoon. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves and there are no coffee lumps in the mixture. Optionally, you may add ground cardamom at this point for a traditional Middle Eastern twist.
Heating the mixture
The brewing process for Turkish coffee relies on slow heating. Place the cezve on the stove at low heat. Do not rush the process by increasing the heat; this could result in over-extraction and a bitter taste.
As the coffee mixture heats slowly, you will notice foam forming on the surface. This distinctive foam is a key characteristic of Turkish coffee. Keep a close eye on it, and just before the foam reaches the top of the cezve, remove it from the heat. Do not let the coffee boil, as it will lead to a loss of that essential foam.
Finishing and serving
Pour the coffee into small cups or traditional Turkish coffee cups (fincan) while ensuring equal distribution of the foam. Let the coffee settle for a short period, around 30-45 seconds, to allow any remaining grounds to sink to the bottom of the cup. Enjoy the intoxicating aroma and bold flavor of your freshly prepared Turkish coffee, ideally with a side of Turkish delight or baklava.
Preparing Arabic Coffee (Qahwa or Gahwa)
Arabic coffee, also known as Qahwa or Gahwa, is a traditional drink in the Arab culture that is usually served during special occasions and gatherings. It is different from other coffee varieties due to its distinctive taste, brewing technique, and serving method. This guide will provide the steps for preparing Arabic coffee, from selecting the right coffee beans to pouring and serving.
Use of green coffee beans
Arabic coffee requires the use of high-quality green coffee beans. These beans are unroasted, allowing you to control the roasting process and achieve the desired taste. The most recommended beans for Arabic coffee are Arabica, which can be sourced from countries such as Yemen, Ethiopia, and Kenya. These beans have unique flavors that make Arabic coffee special when compared to regular coffee.
Rinsing the beans
Before roasting, it is important to rinse the green coffee beans to remove any dirt or impurities. To rinse the beans, simply place them in a large bowl, then add water, swirl them around, and rinse. Repeat this process several times to ensure that the beans are thoroughly cleaned. Drain the water and let the beans air dry or gently pat them with a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture.
Roasting the beans
The roasting process for Arabic coffee is typically lighter compared to other types of coffee. Lightly roasted coffee beans preserve more of their natural flavors and produce a bright, lively brew. To roast the beans, use a coffee roaster, skillet, or stovetop popcorn popper. Simply place the beans in the roasting device and heat them over medium heat. Stir the beans continuously to ensure even roasting. Roast the beans until they turn a light brown shade, then remove them from the heat immediately. Be careful not to over-roast the beans, as this will produce a bitter taste.
Grinding the beans
Once the beans are cooled, use a coffee grinder to grind them to a fine powder. The finer the grind, the better the extraction of flavors during the brewing process. For Arabic coffee, a consistency similar to that of powdered sugar is recommended. Ensure that your grinder is clean and dry before grinding the beans to avoid any contamination or moisture.
Adding spices and flavorings
Arabic coffee is usually infused with various spices and flavorings that enhance its taste and aroma. The most common spices used are cardamom, saffron, and cloves. To add spices, simply mix the ground coffee with the preferred spices in the desired proportions. Cardamom is essential and should be used more than other spices, while saffron imparts a distinctive color and aroma. Cloves can be optional or used in smaller quantities for a subtle flavor.
Boiling water and brewing process
To prepare Arabic coffee, bring water to a boil in a specialized coffee pot known as a dallah. Then reduce the heat to a low simmer and slowly add the ground coffee-spice mixture, stirring it gently. Allow the coffee to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Throughout the brewing process, ensure that the coffee does not boil over, as this will result in a reduced flavor intensity.
Pouring and serving
Once the coffee is brewed, remove it from heat and let it sit for a few moments to allow the coffee grounds to settle at the bottom of the pot. Now it’s time for pouring and serving. Arabic coffee should be served in small, handle-less cups called finjan. Pour the coffee gently into the cups without disturbing the coffee grounds at the bottom of the pot. It is customary to serve Arabic coffee with dates or other sweet treats on the side. Enjoy your flavorful cup of Arabic coffee with family and friends.
Other Regional Coffee Preparations in the Middle East
The Middle East is a diverse region with a rich history in coffee culture, producing many unique coffee preparations that demonstrate varying degrees of innovation and tradition. While Turkish coffee is the most well-known, several other regional specialties can be found across the Middle East, such as Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Persian coffee. Each country has its own unique twist on coffee, showcasing its cultural identity and reflecting the taste preferences of its people.
Egyptian coffee, or Kahwa Masri, is similar to Turkish coffee in that it is made using very finely ground coffee beans and is usually served unfiltered. It is dark, thick, and strong, usually brewed in a traditional long-handled coffee pot called a cezve or kanaka.
The most significant difference between Egyptian and Turkish coffee is the use of spices. While Turkish coffee usually contains cardamom, Egyptian coffee may feature a variety of spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Sugar is added according to preference, but unsweetened coffee is also common.
To prepare Egyptian coffee, water, coffee grounds, sugar, and spices are mixed together in the cezve and slowly boiled, usually over a charcoal burner or low flame. It is allowed to foam before being poured into small cups, filling each cup only halfway. After waiting a moment for the grounds to settle, the remaining coffee is then poured into the cup.
Lebanese coffee, also known as Ahweh, is another regional coffee style similar to Turkish coffee that is brewed in a cezve. The coffee used is finely ground and often flavored with cardamom. One unique feature of Lebanese coffee is the ritual surrounding its preparation and service, which is an essential part of daily life in Lebanon.
To make Lebanese coffee, water is first boiled in the cezve, and then coffee and cardamom powder are added. The mixture is left to boil, allowing it to foam and bubble. The coffee is then removed from the heat and poured into small cups called finjan. It is usually accompanied by a glass of water, which is consumed first to cleanse the palate.
Syrian coffee is an aromatic coffee preparation that is often identified by its distinct maraschino cherry aroma, resulting from the type of beans grown in the region. It is traditionally thick and strong, made using very finely ground coffee beans, like Turkish and Egyptian coffee. Cardamom and other spices may be added, but they are not a requirement.
To prepare Syrian coffee, water, coffee grounds, and sugar, (if desired), are mixed in a cezve and boiled over low heat. The process is similar to other Middle Eastern coffee preparations: When the mixture begins to foam, it is taken off the heat and poured carefully into small cups to allow the coffee grounds to settle. The drink is ideally enjoyed slowly while partaking in conversation or engaging in a leisurely activity.
Persian coffee, known as Qahveh Khaneh, is a rich, aromatic coffee originating in Iran. It is also brewed in a cezve and is typically enjoyed in the morning or after dinner. Persian coffee is characterized by its sweet, earthy flavor and the use of spices, such as saffron, cinnamon, and cardamom.
To make Persian coffee, water, finely ground coffee beans, sugar, and spices are mixed in the cezve and heated over a low flame until the mixture boils and begins to froth. The coffee is then poured into elegant cups called estekan, which are often ornately decorated with traditional Persian designs. Persian coffee is traditionally accompanied by sweets or fruits, adding to the overall sensory experience.
Etiquettes and Customs around Middle Eastern Coffee
Coffee plays a significant role in Middle Eastern culture and has been an integral part of the region’s social fabric for centuries. As a symbol of hospitality and a means of bringing people together, coffee has numerous etiquettes and customs associated with it. Understanding these customs will allow you to fully appreciate the rich traditions that surround this popular beverage.
Welcome and Hospitality
In Middle Eastern culture, coffee is commonly served as a welcoming gesture to guests, regardless of whether they are friends, family members, or strangers. Hospitality is deeply valued in this region, and offering a cup of coffee is a way of showing respect, warmth, and friendship. When visiting a Middle Eastern home or business, it is customary for the host to offer coffee upon arrival, signifying the importance of your visit and their eagerness to make you feel comfortable.
Accepting the offered coffee is a polite way of reciprocating the host’s generosity and a way of establishing rapport. Refusing coffee may be considered offensive unless accompanied by a valid reason, such as a health concern or a religious observance. Generally, it is customary for guests to consume at least one cup of coffee before engaging in conversation, signifying their appreciation for the host’s hospitality.
Reading coffee grounds (tasseography)
Tasseography, or the art of reading coffee grounds, is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries in various forms throughout the Middle East. The process involves interpreting the patterns and symbols formed by the grounds left in the bottom of a coffee cup after consumption. This divination method is believed to reveal insights about a person’s life, relationships, and future experiences.
Traditionally, a coffee-reading session begins with the guest placing the cup upside down for a few minutes after finishing their coffee. Then, the host or an experienced coffee-reader carefully examines the patterns formed by the grounds and shares their interpretation with the guest. Although many consider this practice a form of entertainment or a way of social bonding, others believe in the spiritual aspects of tasseography and its potential to provide valuable guidance and information.
Refilling and serving order
The act of serving coffee in Middle Eastern culture is also governed by specific etiquettes and customs. The host is responsible for preparing and serving the coffee to their guests, and they typically use a small traditional coffee pot called a “dallah” or “cezve.” The coffee is served in small cups without handles, which are filled only partially to allow for the intense flavor and aroma.
It is important to note that the order in which coffee is served carries significant meaning. The most honored guest is usually served first, followed by the eldest person in the gathering. Thereafter, the host serves the other guests in a clockwise direction. When it comes to refilling, it is customary for the host to serve additional rounds of coffee until the guest indicates that they have had enough. This can be done by shaking the empty coffee cup or placing it upside down when handed back to the host.
Coffee in religious practices
Beyond social gatherings, coffee also has religious significance in Middle Eastern culture. In Islam, the practice of offering and consuming coffee can be connected to the values of generosity, unity, and brotherhood. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims break their daylong fast with a traditional meal known as “iftar,” which often includes coffee as a vital component. Coffee is also served during other religious occasions and celebrations, such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
In Sufi culture, coffee has been linked to spiritual awakening and contemplation. Sufis consume coffee during their late-night gatherings, where they perform their rituals, recite poetry, and engage in discussions on religious and philosophical topics. The stimulating properties of coffee are believed to help Sufis maintain their focus and concentration during these sessions, allowing them to delve deeper into spiritual exploration.
In conclusion, the etiquettes and customs surrounding Middle Eastern coffee reflect the deep-rooted importance of this beverage in the region’s culture and traditions. By understanding these customs, you can better appreciate the significance of coffee in Middle Eastern society and strengthen your connections with those who share a love for this timeless drink.
FAQs on Traditional Middle Eastern Coffee Preparation Methods and Techniques
What are the key differences between traditional Middle Eastern coffee and Western coffee?
Traditional Middle Eastern coffee, also known as Arabic or Turkish coffee, is finely ground, resulting in a thicker consistency compared to Western-style coffee. Middle Eastern coffee is brewed and served with grounds remaining in the cup, and may include spices like cardamom for unique flavor profiles.
What is the significance of serving Arabic coffee during social events?
Serving Arabic coffee to guests is an important aspect of Middle Eastern hospitality and culture. It represents warmth and respect, fostering connections among friends and family. Serving coffee during social events allows for bonding while enjoying a shared experience steeped in tradition.
How do you traditionally prepare Middle Eastern coffee?
Traditional Middle Eastern coffee preparation begins with finely ground coffee beans, combined with water and optional spices such as cardamom, in a cezve (a small, long-handled pot). Heat the mixture over low heat until it begins to froth, then remove from heat and allow it to settle before repeating the process several times.
Why is cardamom often added to Middle Eastern coffee?
Cardamom is a popular addition to Middle Eastern coffee due to its unique flavor and aroma, as well as its many health benefits. The spice adds depth to the taste experience and complements the strong, rich coffee, creating a distinct and enjoyable sensory experience.
What is the role of the cezve in traditional Middle Eastern coffee preparation?
The cezve, also known as an ibrik or briki, is an essential tool used to brew Middle Eastern coffee. Its design, typically made from brass or copper, helps distribute heat evenly and slowly. This allows the coffee grounds to fully release their flavor compounds and form a rich crema on the surface.
What is the proper way to serve and enjoy Middle Eastern coffee?
Middle Eastern coffee is traditionally served in small, handleless cups called finjans. Pour the coffee slowly to retain the crema, filling each cup only two-thirds to three-quarters full. Guests should sip the coffee slowly, allowing the grounds to settle at the bottom of the cup, and enjoy conversations with companions.