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Yemeni Ginger Coffee


  • 250 ml water
  • 6 teaspoons extra finely ground coffee
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger


  • In an ibrik (or a small saucepan) combine all the ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  • Once the coffee stops bubbling, place back on top of the stove and allow to come to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and repeat.
  • Serve in demitasse cups.
  • Allow the coffee to rest for a minute prior to serving so that the grinds to fall to the bottom.

The Quran forbids the use of intoxicants, but those Muslims in favour of coffee quite rightly argued that coffee did not intoxicate, it stimulated. The argument over coffee came to a head in 1511 in Mecca when the governor of Mecca, Beg, saw some people drinking coffee in a mosque as they prepared a night-long prayer vigil and became livid. He chased them from the mosque and ordered all the coffee houses to be closed.

A heated debate ensued, with coffee being condemned as an unhealthy brew by two rather unscrupulous and greedy Persian doctors, the Hakimani brothers, who were known to be dishonest and to lie in order to gain financial advantage whenever it suited them.

The doctors wanted it banned because many of the depressed patients that would have paid these doctors large sums of money to cure them, now simply drank a cup of coffee and felt much better.

The mufti of Mecca, on the other hand didn’t want it banned and took the side of those that didn’t want the drink banned – after all, he was drinking the stuff himself.

The issue was finally resolved in a politcal manner when the Sultan of Cairo intervened and reprimanded the Khair Beg for banning a drink that was widely enjoyed in Cairo without consulting his superior. In 1512, when Khair Beg was accused of embezzlement, the Sultan had him put to death and coffee survived in Mecca.



  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 500 ml evaporated milk
  • 100 ml strong, concentrated espresso coffee
  • 200 ml brown sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 heaped teaspoon powdered gelatin, dissolved in a little coffee liqueur
  • 375 ml heavy cream


  • Whisk together the cardamom, evaporated milk and coffee in a pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it just starts steaming.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and brown sugar.
  • Add 125 ml of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  • Add the warm egg-milk blend back into the hot milk in the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 165 degrees on a digital candy thermometer.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatin.
  • Chill the cardamom coffee custard thoroughly.
  • Whisk the rest of cream in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Thoroughly stir a little of the whipped cream into the chilled cardamom coffee custard, and then gently fold in the rest of the cream.
  • The mousse is ready when the custard is thoroughly incorporated into the whipped cream, and no marbling shows.
  • Serve chilled.


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