An Extraordinary Time » How We Got to Where We Are and How We Are Shaping Our Future

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The Dallah

Traditional Arabic coffee is made with lightly roasted green coffee beans ground up fine..  Cardamom is added to give it a distinctive flavor. Saudis always hold their coffee cups in their right hands.  It is served oldest to youngest.  Dates (as in the fruit) often accompany it. It is served in a traditional long-handled coffee pot called a dallah.

On a recent visit to Seattle, Saudi Ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal said 10,000 Saudi Arabian students were offered full four-year scholarships to study abroad. Most of them will study in the United States, a turn-around since 9/11 when many Saudi students fled back home fearing American reprisals.




Ahmed Alrowaili, 23

The most valuable thing I brought with me is the Holy Koran. The other thing I value next is something that we call Dallah.  It’s a pot to put the coffee in and serve it to other people.  It’s a traditional thing in Saudi Arabia.  Its very emotional.  Everybody comes to my apartment and Saudi people see it. They tend to cry.  They say “Oh my God, you brought this with you!  I love you.”

When I was in high school (in Saudi Arabia), I intended to stay up late for studying and I took my car at the night after 12:00 and nothing opened…They have small places for Seattles Best… I asked (the barista) “What is Seattle’s Best”? …He said “It’s a city, Seattle.”  He said “it’s a beautiful city and has a lot of rain.” And I love rain.  So I said “OK if I ever go to America I will go to Seattle.  And that was what happened.  That bring me here.  I’m studying now English but I’m intending to study international law.

My goal is to study, get the most knowledge here, go back home and try to improve my country to become as your country.


Faisal Alrowaili, 25

Its like a tradition that when we drink coffee we sit on the ground. … it’s the first thing that you give your guests – a coffee.  If you don’t serve him with Dallah you are not respecting him. It’s a tradition back home.  Almost every Saudi house has one just like this one.

Actually we go to Starbucks, we meet there a lot.  But on the weekends we have a special meeting.  We drink Arabic coffee.  So it makes more value that we remember our families and all that by drinking Arabic coffee.

Everybody comes from a different family.  Everybody comes from a different city. And we all met here.  And like we’re building a new family.  And we feel about each other just like we feel about our brothers (back home).



…for me I like it very much.  It reminds me of my days in Saudi Arabia.

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