Enjoying a hot drink is always a great idea if you want to relax, warm up, boost your energy on busy days, and even wake up in the morning.
As a host, offering your guests a cup of tea or coffee is the best opportunity to catch up with a family member or a friend.
When I was a child, having black tea with a cinnamon stick was a standard in our home. My mum always served it hot with sugar, and she still does to this day. It was later on as I grew older that I started to explore other types of teas like green tea, flavoured tea, or infused.
I now have seasonal favourites such as mint green tea which is on top of my list, together with sage and Marjoram tea. However, I must admit I’ll always come back to a perfectly brewed cup of black tea with cinnamon. I guess there are some childhood memories of which one just can’t let go.
In this journal, I want to share with you the most popular hot drinks you can come across in the Middle East, which is both easy to prepare and enjoy.
Middle Eastern tea is often sweet and sugary. It’s traditionally served in very hot glasses that many find hard to handle at first as they don’t have handles. The easiest way to drink from them is to hold the bottom with your thumb and the top with your index finger.
Learn how to make your own aromatic herbal tea here.
Spices play a great role in making the perfect Arabic coffee. The most common spice used is cardamom and is usually added in large quantities.
That’s why Arabic coffee is often robust and slightly bitter due to the beautiful fragrance of cardamom. In order to counter the bitter taste, dates are commonly served alongside the coffee. You can easily just add sugar too.
There’s also white coffee. I know this might sound unusual, but I too have never heard of this type of coffee until I met my mother-in-law. She prefers white coffee – known in the Middle East as Kahweh Baida or Café Blanc – because it’s decaffeinated.
White coffee is simply a cup of hot boiled water with 1-2 teaspoons of orange blossom water with sugar being optional. Café Blanc is supposed to soothe and calm your stomach, according to my mother-in-law. I just enjoy the taste!
Sahlab – Warm Dessert Drink
The most popular hot dessert drink in the Middle East is Sahlab. This traditional dessert drink is my favourite in winter as it’s sure to warm me up.
Sahlab is a smooth milk-like pudding that can be instantly prepared with a Sahlab mix (which can be bought in packets from Middle Eastern grocery stores) and garnished with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder. Otherwise, you can make it from scratch in 5 minutes following my recipe.
Hot cocoa is made purely from cocoa powder and brings back so many childhood memories for me. There’s nothing more satisfying than drinking homemade hot cocoa. It’s comforting and delicious at the same time and the best drink to curl up with on a cold winter day.
As hot beverages go best with something sweet, don’t forget to check out these easy and quick dessert recipes:
What is your favourite hot drink? Let me know in the comments below.