Qishr is a traditional Yemeni hot drink. It is customarily made with spiced coffee husks, ginger, and sometimes other spices like cinnamon. The drink is a favorite among Yemenis and is often served instead of coffee as it is much cheaper and minimizes waste. In traditional recipes, the coffee bean shell (or husk) is used rather than coffee beans, which produces a lighter, tea-like flavor with less caffeine than coffee.
Qishr has become such a staple in Yemeni culture that it is said that the act of making the drink is a ritual in and of itself. Though a simple process, it is certainly no set it and forget it recipe like using your automatic drip coffee maker. It requires bringing the ingredients to a bubbling boil then letting it rest off of the heat at least three times to bring out the flavors. Qishr also carries great significance in Yemeni culture as an offering of hospitality. Guests are often offered qishr when visiting and it is served when socializing with friends and family. It is also a suitable after-meal beverage choice as its simple ingredients are known to aid in digestion.
Today, many make qishr with finely ground coffee beans instead of coffee husks as it is more readily available. In western cultures, qishr has come to be known as ginger coffee or spiced ginger coffee if other spices are added. This recipe calls for only 4 ingredients, but can be added to for a different balance of spices. Some like their ginger coffee incredibly sweet while others enjoy adding a creamy element with milk (known as bunn halib, or milk coffee).
- 1 cup water
- 6 teaspoons coffee (extra fine grind)
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- In a traditional ibrik or small saucepan combine all ingredients.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat.
- Once the coffee stops bubbling, placeit back onto stovetop and allow to come to a boil once more. Remove from heat and repeat.
Serving and Presentation Tips:
For a traditional presentation, serve the ginger coffee in small demitasse cups. The drink it mean to be enjoyed in small sips. Be sure to allow the coffee to sit in the cups for at least a minute before serving to allow the grinds to fall to the bottom.
If the coffee has too much of a ginger taste for your preference, you can add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or a cardamom pod during cooking.
Other great Middle Eastern Food resources:
Middle Eastern Food Newsletter