Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Sudan

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Welcome expatriates to the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Sudan, offering insights and tips for navigating the local coffee scene. Whether you're a seasoned coffee lover or new to Sudan, this guide will provide you with an understanding of the coffee culture that can be found across the country.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Coffee is an essential part of Sudanese culture, and while the country is not globally known for its coffee production, it does still play a significant role in Sudanese society. Coffee is mostly grown in the south of Sudan, in states such as Juba and Western Bahr el Ghazal. Due to the hot and humid climate, coffee trees in Sudan require careful cultivation and maintenance, often through traditional techniques.

Expatriates who enjoy coffee with a distinct taste will want to explore the locally grown beans in Sudan, especially the varieties of Arabica, Robusta, and Excelsa that are cultivated in the country. While these local varieties are more challenging to find in Sudan's urban areas, they are still available in smaller markets or specialty coffee shops.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Sudanese coffee culture is characterized by a wide range of coffee style drinks that are unique to the region. One popular coffee variety is called Jallab, which is a sweet syrup made from dates, grapes, and wheat that is mixed into the coffee.

  • Masaww: This coffee is brewed from coffee beans and water, then filtered through a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Shai: This is a traditional coffee served in a small clay pot that is brewed in front of guests.
  • Madhubani: This is a strong coffee bean that is roasted and then ground into fine powder, which is then used in brewing our coffee.
  • Sudaki: Sudanaki is a traditional drink served in South Sudan that is made from a mixture of sorghum flour, water, and coffee powder.

Expatriates should also note that some locals prefer a sweeter taste, order accordingly, to avoid being served overly strong coffee with less sugar than you might prefer.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee drinking customs and traditions are an integral part of Sudanese social etiquette. While locals and expats share a common interest in coffee culture, it's essential to understand the local customs to avoid causing offense.

  • Sudanese coffee is usually served after breakfast or lunch, and it's essential to wait for your host to start drinking before you begin.
  • Accepting a cup serves as a gesture of appreciation and respect, and refusal may cause offense.
  • Coffee is served in a jok, which is a small clay pot, and it's essential to drink from the right side of the pot, rotating it towards the left as you drink.
  • A common social custom is to drink slowly, savoring each sip, and taking the time to chat with your host.

Embracing Local Coffee Shops, Cafes, and Experiences

Expatriates will find a wide range of cafes and coffee shops throughout Sudan, ranging from traditional shops that cater to locals to more modern coffeehouses geared towards foreigners.

We recommend the following coffee shops and cafes for expatriates:

  • Cappuccino: This chain coffeehouse is located in the heart of Khartoum. It's modern, stylish, and brews traditional coffee beverages as well as more contemporary options.
  • Triple Espresso: Located in the Alrieram Complex in Khartoum, Triple Espresso is popular among locals and expats alike, and it's a great place to experience an eclectic mix of coffee styles and tastes.
  • Neem Tree Brewing Co: This brewery is located in Juba and is known for producing craft coffee beverages that utilize locally grown coffee beans.

Expatriates can also consider attending a coffee ceremony in the homes of Sudanese families, as this is often regarded as a unique and authentic experience.


Coffee culture plays an essential role in Sudanese society, and expatriates looking to immerse themselves in this tradition will be richly rewarded with insights into Sudan's unique culture and social interactions.

The array of coffee styles, customs, and traditions that can be found across Sudan emphasizes the value of coffee as a universal language that transcends borders and fosters connections among expats and locals alike. Whether you're a seasoned coffee enthusiast or a newcomer to Sudan, this guide will provide you with practical insights and tips for navigating Sudan's vibrant coffee culture.