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Brewing and serving coffee with traditional utensils is a risky business because there is no room for carelessness. They force you to be present with them, like all good things, enriching your life with wisdom and meaningful experiences.

Iron kettles, and brass Arabic coffee pots (known as Del'las) are expensive. Their artisans are few now, but their beauty would make you go the extra mile to invest in and care for them. Some people find them unsafe. That is true only because the precious metals leave no room for error. They rust if you don't give them love, and they burn and distort with no attention.

So here is a guide to enrich your life with heritage tools. We know it would be fun to get your Del’la out of storage and polish it back to life. To learn our special Arabic Coffee recipe, scroll down to the video tutorial below to see how Reem Al Khalifa does it.

A Traditional Japanese Hearth (Irori) with a kettle over warm coals. Photograph by Jesse Morrow.

Coffee is always prepared in a separate vessel because it needs higher heat to come to a rolling boil on an open fire. After the coffee is done cooking, it is poured into the copper/ brass vessel known as the Del’la. The decorative pouring vessel is kept warm on charcoal because it cannot handle a fire. You cannot use it on a gas stove without ceramic plate protection, but it is perfect on charcoal. The pot is very safe while it is warm, once the coals cool the coffee is never drunk. In the old days Bedouins would never drink cold coffee from a cold pot, it was easy for them to figure out it was not safe as the taste would go off.

"Iron, brass and copper vessels all respond extremely well to being heated on charcoal."

Water cooked or warmed on charcoal maintains a higher temperature, steams more and brings depth to tea or coffee- no electric heater can get the depth of hardwood charcoal. Charcoal will stay warm for about an hour, of course you can keep it going beyond an hour if you add warm coals.

HOW TO POLISH THE OUTSIDE

Mix 3 tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons salt and 3 tablespoons vinegar and rub on the surface. Then wash.

HOW TO CLEAN THE INSIDE

Boil water in it with 3 tablespoons of vinegar.

Cleaning is the only time you can put the pot on an open flame, otherwise its safer on charcoal.

HOW TO PREVENT RUST

It’s important that you keep the precious vessels dry after use. When the coffee is not drinkable anymore, give it to your plants. Rinse your pot with water and toast it dry with the lid open for everything to evaporate. Watch the pot for one minute and take it off immediately once the steam is done. Let it cool with the lid open, and close when it comes to room temperature.

Never place an empty pot on fire unless you are trying to dry it or clean it, and never store them while they are even a little bit damp.

Arabic Coffee Recipe

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COFFEE

  • 1.1 litres of water
  • 4 tbsp coffee (the colour of the roast is up to you, we use number 3)
  • 2 tsp cardamom powder

Add coffee and cardamom to boiled water. Bring the mixture back to a boil then simmer for a total of 15 minutes.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DEL'LA

  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 4 saffron strands soaked in some rosewater
  • 4 rose petals from our Full Blossom Rose Tea 

Prepare the Del'la (serving pot) with the cardamom, saffron and rose petals. Once cooked, filter the coffee through a sieve into the serving pot. Flavours inside the Del’la are all optional, you can experiment with other flavour options:

  • 1 clove
  • 1 tsp ginger

Reminder: Drink the coffee while hot. Once the coals cool, its not safe to drink.


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