Drinks Recipe Index

White Coffee (Ahwa Beida)

04/05/2012
Arabic White Coffee Ahwa Beida

Today I share with you something that is more a ritual than a recipe – something that can be made in mere moments to soften the edge of a rough day, or settle the stomach after a most indulgent meal. It’s ahwa beida, or “white coffee” – the soothing soothing after-dinner cocktail named after coffee, that isn’t coffee, and doesn’t involve alcohol.

Coffee is an essential part of social life in the Middle East. Among Middle Eastern families it is quite common to have a designated coffee maker who takes orders – black, a little sweet, very sweet – and saunters to the stove after shared meals to brew it our special way, boiled three times in an ibrik (in my family, it’s my uncle, Suhayl).

However, if one has perhaps overindulged, or prefers a light digestive, they may order ahwa beida instead: steaming hot water with a few drops of rose or orange blossom water.

I have recently taken a tremendous liking to this simple but calming drink, my interest reignited by my parents’ trip to Australia this year, when my dad asked for it after a buffet of delights from Queen Victoria Market. If I feel a cold coming on, I use it as an excuse to swirl in some raw honey. Play with the amount of flower water to your liking – my happy place is about 1 tsp in a standard mug.

“WHITE COFFEE” (AHWA BEIDA)

Provisions:
Hot water
Several drops orange blossom water or rosewater
Method:
Boil enough water for several mugs around the table, and set aside to cool for a moment. Add a few drops of orange blossom water to each mug, to taste – about 1 tsp. Swirling in a drop of honey is optional, but especially good if fending off a cold.
Audio pairing: Telepopmusik, “Breathe”

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32 Comments

  • Reply Noor 15/07/2014 at 11:26 pm

    Oh, I make this and love it as well.

  • Reply Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy 10/05/2012 at 12:03 am

    Whenever I hgo to a Lebanese restaurant with my friends I always order Ahwi and I am then up alllll night. I think I am going to have this next time!

  • Reply Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy 10/05/2012 at 12:03 am

    Whenever I hgo to a Lebanese restaurant with my friends I always order Ahwi and I am then up alllll night. I think I am going to have this next time!

  • Reply amanda aude 09/05/2012 at 2:22 pm

    I love this post! You’re so right about the Middle East. I was in Qatar in October and everywhere I went I was served dates & tea in those cute little cups. It was lovely.
    http://little-tranquility.blogspot.com/2011/10/qatar-lifestyle.html

  • Reply Ames 06/05/2012 at 9:42 am

    Would be a lovely way to end a cold Melbourne day :).  Need to go find some orange blossom now…

  • Reply ames4eva 06/05/2012 at 9:42 am

    Would be a lovely way to end a cold Melbourne day :).  Need to go find some orange blossom now…

  • Reply msihua 06/05/2012 at 8:34 am

    Hahahaha I love that there is an audio pairing with this.. oh nice… I like orange and rose blossom anything.. MMm

  • Reply msihua 06/05/2012 at 8:34 am

    Hahahaha I love that there is an audio pairing with this.. oh nice… I like orange and rose blossom anything.. MMm

  • Reply Yasmeen 06/05/2012 at 5:53 am

    It’s definitely a different approach to “coffee” but it actually works wonders for an unsettled stomach. If you’re like me and… sometimes go a little overboard… this is just the thing :)

  • Reply Yasmeen 06/05/2012 at 5:52 am

    Decadent much? No such thing – I like your style!!

  • Reply Miss T 05/05/2012 at 7:37 pm

    oh yes! I put orange blossom water in my bath – so Im bathing in white coffee! decadent much! I will refrain from drinking my bath water but will def have to try this. 

  • Reply Miss T 05/05/2012 at 7:37 pm

    oh yes! I put orange blossom water in my bath – so Im bathing in white coffee! decadent much! I will refrain from drinking my bath water but will def have to try this. 

    • Reply Yasmeen 06/05/2012 at 5:52 am

      Decadent much? No such thing – I like your style!!

  • Reply Hannah 05/05/2012 at 4:53 am

    Oh, this is so simple yet so lovely! I’ve had a barely-touched bottle of rosewater in the cupboard for a year, and heaven knows I love my coffee 😉

  • Reply Hannah 05/05/2012 at 4:53 am

    Oh, this is so simple yet so lovely! I’ve had a barely-touched bottle of rosewater in the cupboard for a year, and heaven knows I love my coffee 😉

    • Reply Yasmeen 06/05/2012 at 5:53 am

      It’s definitely a different approach to “coffee” but it actually works wonders for an unsettled stomach. If you’re like me and… sometimes go a little overboard… this is just the thing :)

  • Reply Yasmeen 05/05/2012 at 3:55 am

    It really is – especially on a chilly, rainy day like today when I’m prone to eating too much comfort food 😉

  • Reply Yasmeen 05/05/2012 at 3:55 am

    That’s such a lovely memory… many of these recipes are ones we grew up eating. Since I shifted my focus to mainly Arabic food I thought it best to start with the dishes closest to heart. Can’t wait to see you soon!

  • Reply Yasmeen 05/05/2012 at 3:54 am

    Thanks, Eva! 

  • Reply Yasmeen 05/05/2012 at 3:54 am

    Exactly, Bryan, it’s the literal translation (“ahwa” being coffee, “beida” being white). We do take our coffee very seriously – just a play on words here :)

  • Reply Fatboo 04/05/2012 at 10:27 pm

    Very interesting take on “coffee”, not even coffee or milk is involved! Is that the direct translation of Ahwa Beida?

  • Reply Fatboo 04/05/2012 at 10:27 pm

    Very interesting take on “coffee”, not even coffee or milk is involved! Is that the direct translation of Ahwa Beida?

    • Reply Yasmeen 05/05/2012 at 3:54 am

      Exactly, Bryan, it’s the literal translation (“ahwa” being coffee, “beida” being white). We do take our coffee very seriously – just a play on words here :)

  • Reply Eva 04/05/2012 at 6:16 pm

    This does sound totally refreshing and soothing at the same time. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply Eva 04/05/2012 at 6:16 pm

    This does sound totally refreshing and soothing at the same time. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply Nuha 04/05/2012 at 4:44 pm

    so many of your recipes remind me of my mom, but probably none more so than this one.  she doesn’t drink it often, but every time she does she says it reminds her of sitting on the balcony in the mornings drinking this with teta ayesha :-)

  • Reply Nuha 04/05/2012 at 4:44 pm

    so many of your recipes remind me of my mom, but probably none more so than this one.  she doesn’t drink it often, but every time she does she says it reminds her of sitting on the balcony in the mornings drinking this with teta ayesha :-)

    • Reply Yasmeen 05/05/2012 at 3:55 am

      That’s such a lovely memory… many of these recipes are ones we grew up eating. Since I shifted my focus to mainly Arabic food I thought it best to start with the dishes closest to heart. Can’t wait to see you soon!

  • Reply leaf (the indolent cook) 04/05/2012 at 12:51 pm

    Oh, nice! I can imagine how soothing this is, and it would be lovely for the cold weather shrouding us…

  • Reply leaf (the indolent cook) 04/05/2012 at 12:51 pm

    Oh, nice! I can imagine how soothing this is, and it would be lovely for the cold weather shrouding us…

    • Reply Yasmeen 05/05/2012 at 3:55 am

      It really is – especially on a chilly, rainy day like today when I’m prone to eating too much comfort food 😉

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