Falling in love with a brew is something only for a few! And the ones who stay committed in their aromatic relationship with a bag of beans and the far-reaching consequences that come with it, can do anything to further their romance…
Medina Ilyas, an avid adventurer and founder of an experiential travel company, fell in love with Arabic coffee instantly when she came to the sultanate 15 years ago. What began as ‘love at first sip’, soon blossomed into a full-fledged obsession for the brew with its heady aroma and unique ability to usher in balance, not just within an individual’s mind but also in his/her interpersonal relationship via warm exchanges over coffee – a key element of Arabic culture.
Medina explored her love and obsession for coffee and took it to another level by establishing her own company to manufacture authentic Arabic coffee, as well as share some of her own secrets of coffee brewing with interested individuals through varied fora, including zoom workshops.
Based in Oman, Medina Coffee Company delivers the ‘world’s best Arabic coffee experience’ to everyone who loves coffee. The company’s coffee kits contain exclusive Specialty Yemeni Coffee, a proprietary blend of exotic Arabic spices and a measuring spoon, along with a few recipes to get one started. The company also enjoys experimenting with cold brews, lattes and cappuccinos, besides simply making regular coffee in a coffee maker.
“During our zoom classes we teach customers the proper way to prepare Arabic coffee, as well as the history of coffee and the proper Arabic coffee ritual,” says Medina, adding, “We are particularly focused on Arabian consumers who drink specialty coffee. Although we sell Arabic coffee kits, our exclusive Yemeni coffee beans are an exceptional choice for preparing any coffee drink. We are targeting Oman, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, as the Middle East region boasts coffee consumption of between 4.5 million and 5 million bags.
Complex flavour, charitable move
Medina coffee’s complex flavour profile comes from rare, high quality, organic Yemeni beans. It has a deep, earthy flavour with a satisfying, lingering finish, and carries hints of chocolate. Also, the extraordinary Arabica coffee is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association.
“We buy our beans directly from Yemeni farmers and pay a fair amount to compensate them for their hard work. A portion of every purchase is donated to UNCHR to support internally displaced people in Yemen, providing basic needs like food, medicine and clothing,” Medina disclosed.
Bringing in balance
Medina further asserts that the modern pace of life can leave one feeling drained, stressed, and disconnected. And wellbeing begins with creating good self-care habits that help you feel balanced. “When you are balanced, you feel centered, productive, responsible and connected. Without balance, we cannot contribute or feel fulfilled,” she says pointing out that coffee and spices come together to deliver a wealth of health benefits and a healthy boost of energy.
During her adventures in Oman, having stayed with Bedouins, Medina first witnessed the original coffee preparation process and was fascinated by how much detail went into making the coffee. “I had since traveled to different regions of Oman and experienced different styles and recipes of Arabic coffee. While preparation styles differ, one thing remains consistent – the friendliness and warmth of Arabic hospitality,” she said.
Asked about the difference in coffee cultures in the Arab world and the West, Medina said, “The biggest difference between the Western world coffee and the Arabic coffee is that Qahwa or coffee in the Arabic culture is all around hospitality. The process of preparing, serving and drinking coffee is some sort of a ritual, a social experience. The Qahwa ceremony is also considered a ‘UNESCO intangible cultural heritage’. That’s why we are organising workshops where we teach the history, rituals, preparation process, and share other information about Arabic coffee.”
Love at first sip…
“Fifteen years ago, I fell in love… I visited Oman for the first time and was introduced to Arabic coffee. It was love at first sip! I was mesmerised by not only the taste but the culture surrounding the Arabic coffee ritual. I opened the Pandora’s box of coffee, and it soon became an everyday part of my life,” says Medina explaining the origin of her coffee craze.
“Since then, I tried over 60 different types of coffee and over a 100 different recipes. It became a true passion. To me, having Arabic Coffee is not just a fun activity, it is a heartwarming cultural experience. I believe that introducing Arabic coffee to people is the best way to showcase Arabic hospitality and culture. Everything about the experience is truly magical.”
(For more details, visit: www.medinacoffeecompany.com Instagram – @medina.coffee)