Arabic Coffee: A How-to Guide

Uploaded by on Wed 4th Mar, 2015 at 11:40
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If you find yourself in the Middle East, it is part of the local hospitality to be welcomed, especially before more official gatherings, with Arabic coffee and fresh dates.

For those active in the hospitality industry, and particularly for commercial and VIP cabin crew, knowing the correct service etiquette as well as the right way to conduct it is paramount because mistakes that might seem harmless to us can end up insulting our guests.

The protocol is almost a cultural ritual and very different from your usual cup of coffee offered in other parts of the world.

Made of home-roasted ground coffee and a mix of spices (including cardamom, saffron, cloves, rosewater), Arabic coffee looks, smells and tastes different than the coffee most of us are used to.

It is served from a medium size, long spout pot called “dallah” in small handle less cups called “finjaans”.

Because it is supposed to be offered piping hot, the amount of coffee poured into the miniature cups is 1/3 up to 2/3 of the cup, depending also on the actual cup size.

Since sugar is not part of the ingredients, fresh Arabic dates are always offered with coffee as a healthy sugar replacement.

The service is conducted by 2 persons: one offering dates, and the other serving coffee to all guests, starting with the highest ranking or the most elderly one.

It is important for the servers to ensure they offer coffee and dates to every single guest as omitting one will be extremely humiliating for the guest.

Besides being offered as a welcome treat, Arabic coffee is also served after a meal gathering as an indication of the fact that the meeting is now concluded.

In this short video, we explain the protocol followed by commercial and VIP cabin crew based in or flying in and out of the Middle East to cater for Arabic guests.


Monica & Simona started their flying careers at one of the major airlines in the Gulf region. After flying for over 6 years as commercial cabin crews, they moved on to flying for different reputable VIP operators in the Middle East and Europe and have gradually progressed to the role of VIP Cabin Crew Director and VIP Cabin Crew Trainer respectively.

They are the two co-founders of Cabin Crew Excellence, an online platform dedicated to individuals of all aviation experience levels. Our aim is to help people from all over the world enter the wonderful field of aviation, assist existing cabin crew to transition to VIP operations and empower cabin crew of all levels to further enhance their job-related knowledge and skills and invest in their personal and professional development.

If you’re interested in becoming VIP Cabin Crew, have a range of video tutorials, e-books, workbooks, short manuals and extensive tools and resources available for all those driven by passion and aiming to achieve excellence in the field.

If you’re already Cabin Crew or VIP Cabin Crew, we have a wealth of resources you will find useful for personal and professional development