Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Libya

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As an expat settling in Libya, you'll soon discover that coffee is an integral part of daily life and social interactions. Whether you're a coffee connoisseur or simply looking to immerse yourself in local culture and traditions, this guide is tailored to help you navigate Libya's vibrant coffee scene. So grab a mug, sit back, and let's explore.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Coffee is grown in several regions of Libya, and understanding its origins and production is essential to fully appreciate the local coffee culture. While coffee beans are imported from nearby countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, locally grown coffee plays a significant role in the country's coffee scene. Some regions renowned for coffee cultivation include Jebel Nefusa, Jef nutruf, and Al Kofra. Exploring these regions allows expats to discover the birthplace of coffee and learn about traditional farming techniques.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Libyan coffee culture is diverse, and the country boasts a range of coffee style drinks. Some popular favorites include mish mish, jibna mish mish, qahwa awasiya, and sinooriya. Mish mish is a traditional beverage made from powdered mish (green almonds) mixed with ground coffee, whereas jibna mish mish is a milk-based coffee drink prepared with mish mish. Qahwa awasiya (spiced coffee) is an aromatic array of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves mixed with coffee, while sinooriya is a rich, thick coffee known for its intense flavor.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee is deeply embedded in Libyan culture, serving as more than just a beverage. It's a social ritual, where coffee is prepared and shared, often in social and cultural settings. The traditional method of brewing coffee is known as 'inshir,' where green coffee beans are roasted in a pan, ground, and brewed in a pot called 'metl.' This process is time-consuming and requires precision, as the aim is to capture a wholesome aroma and a rich taste. Here are some key insights into local coffee customs and traditions:

  • Coffee is an essential part of hospitality, and when visiting someone's home, it's customary to be offered coffee as a sign of respect and hospitality.
  • Libyan coffee is often served in small glasses called 'finjaan,' and the number of glasses filled usually reflects the guest's level of respect for the host.
  • Drinking coffee in Libya is a social pastime, and it's common to see people enjoying coffee in cafes, coffee shops, and traditional tea houses. These establishments often serve a range of coffee styles and offer a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
  • In Libyan tradition, leaving the last sip from the cup indicates that you've had enough, while emptying the cup three times signifies your satisfaction with the coffee.
  • It's essential to drink coffee slowly and savor its aroma and taste, for speeding up the drink is regarded as impolite in Libyan culture.
  • Libyan coffee is enjoyed in social settings and as part of traditional cultural celebrations, including weddings, religious festivals, and other significant social events.

Recommendations for Expat-Friendly Coffee Shops and Cafes in Libya

As an expat, it can be challenging to find a coffee shop that caters to your unique tastes and preferences. Here are some recommendations for expat-friendly coffee shops and cafes in Libya, offering a diverse range of coffee styles and a cozy atmosphere:

  • Qahwa Wahat Al Gharbia, Tripoli - This traditional Libyan coffee shop is known for its aromatic coffee, traditional hospitality, and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Al Khaled Cafe, Tripoli - A stylish and modern cafe offering a range of coffee styles, alongside traditional Libyan pastries and snacks.
  • Abu Shaker Cafe, Benghazi - A long-standing cafe that's been serving coffee to locals and expats for over 50 years.
  • Naseem Al Nil Cafe, Sirte - A perfect place to sample traditional Libyan coffee and local pastries while enjoying the view of the Nile river.
  • Al Mumtaz Coffee, Al Khums - A cozy and welcoming cafe that offers an array of coffee styles, including mish mish and qahwa awasiya.


Embracing Libya's coffee culture provides a gateway to connecting with local communities and experiencing authentic cultural experiences. As an expat, understanding coffee origins, embracing popular coffee styles, and respecting local drinking customs and traditions is crucial to fully appreciating Libyan coffee culture. So whether you're a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a newcomer to the world of coffee, never hesitate to explore, embrace, and savor this rich and vibrant element of Libyan culture.

By [Your Name], an expat living and immersing themselves in Libya's coffee culture.