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”
  • http://theindolentcook.blogspot.com/ leaf (the indolent cook)

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

    • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

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

  • http://theindolentcook.blogspot.com/ leaf (the indolent cook)

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

  • http://nuhasofiyan.blogspot.com/ Nuha

    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 :-)

    • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

      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!

  • http://nuhasofiyan.blogspot.com/ Nuha

    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 :-)

  • http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/ Eva

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

    • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

      Thanks, Eva! 

  • http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/ Eva

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

  • http://fatboo.com/ Fatboo

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

    • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

      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 :)

  • http://fatboo.com/ Fatboo

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

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    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 :)

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    Thanks, Eva! 

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    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!

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

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

  • http://wayfaringchocolate.com Hannah

    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 ;)

    • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

      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 :)

  • http://wayfaringchocolate.com/ Hannah

    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 ;)

  • Miss T

    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. 

    • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

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

  • Miss T

    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. 

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

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

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    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 :)

  • http://msihua.com/ msihua

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

  • http://msihua.com/ msihua

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

  • ames4eva

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

  • http://twitter.com/ames4eva Ames

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

  • amanda aude

    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

  • http://www.thelittlestanchovy.com/ Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy

    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!

  • http://www.thelittlestanchovy.com/ Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy

    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!

  • http://www.nooralqahtani.com/ Noor

    Oh, I make this and love it as well.