Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Syria

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Welcome expats to the vibrant and diverse world of coffee culture in Syria! Whether you're a dedicated coffee enthusiast or simply enjoy a good cup of joe, this comprehensive guide will provide insights and tips for fully immersing yourself in the unique coffee traditions and customs of this stunning Middle Eastern country.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Syria has a long-established history of coffee production, with coffee beans grown in various regions across the country. While some coffee is imported from neighboring countries like Turkey and Lebanon, locally grown beans are highly prized and sought-after due to their rich flavor and aroma. Here are a few key regions renowned for coffee cultivation worth exploring:

  • Damascus: Known as the "City of Jasmine," Damascus is home to several coffee farms, including the picturesque Al Ashrafiya Farm, which offers guided tours and tastings.
  • Idlib: Located in the northwest of Syria, the lush landscapes of Idlib have long been associated with coffee cultivation due to the area's ideal climate and fertile soil. Visitors can explore local coffee plantations and sample the region's favorite coffee blends, such as the distinctively bitter "Mahrajan" coffee.
  • Aleppo: Once a hub for coffee trade in the Middle East, Aleppo's rich heritage of coffee production is reflected in the city's bustling cafes and traditional coffee houses.

Whether you're seeking to explore local coffee farms, sample traditional brews, or simply admire the beautiful landscapes of coffee-growing regions in Syria, there are plenty of opportunities for expats to immerse themselves in the country's coffee traditions and customs.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Syrian coffee culture is characterized by a range of unique and exotic coffee style drinks that expats will delight in. Here are a few popular styles worth trying:

  • Turkish Coffee: As its name suggests, Turkish coffee is strongly influenced by Turkish coffee culture, with a thick, strong, and frothy texture that's both rich and flavorful. Typically brewed with fine coffee grounds and water, Turkish coffee is served sweetened with dates or sugar and often enjoyed as part of a social gathering.
  • Mahrajan Coffee: Pronounced "mahar-yan," Mahrajan coffee is a strong and bold coffee blend with a distinctively bitter flavor that's popular throughout the Middle East, and particularly common in Syria. This bold and full-bodied coffee is often brewed using a traditional "Coffee Pot With A Long Spout" and traditionally serves as an aperitif before meals.
  • Cappuccino: Popular in urban areas such as Damascus and Aleppo, the cappuccino has grown in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to the growing influence of Western culture. This popular Italian coffee drink, made with espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk, is often served with a biscotti as a sweet accompaniment.

These are just a few examples, as the coffee culture of Syria is incredibly diverse, and expats can expect to discover a range of unique and exotic coffee styles during their stay.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

While coffee drinking customs and traditions may vary from region to region, there are a few universal principles that expats can follow to respect and embrace local coffee culture in Syria:

  • Greetings: Coffee is often served as a gesture of hospitality, with locals offering coffee to guests as a way of showing respect and kindness. To show your gratitude, it's customary to perform a simple coffee ritual, such as kissing the book of the Quran or passing around a piece of sword, before accepting the coffee.
  • Socializing: Coffee is deeply rooted in the social fabric of Syrian life, and sharing a cup of coffee is often seen as a way to build meaningful relationships and connect with others. Whether it's in a traditional coffee house, at a friend's home, or in a bustling café, coffee drinking is an excellent opportunity to build links with locals and immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Respect: To show respect to the local coffee culture, expats should follow certain customs and traditions. For instance, it's common to drink the coffee from a small, traditional cup known as a Finjan or a Dalgan. Furthermore, expats should always finish their coffee and accept subsequent offers of coffee, as refusal is considered a sign of disrespect.

By respecting and adapting to these customs and traditions, expats can gain a deeper appreciation for the rich and diverse coffee culture of Syria.


In conclusion, coffee culture is an essential and deeply-woven part of life in Syria. From exploring the beautiful landscapes of coffee-growing regions to savoring unique coffee style drinks and traditions, there are plenty of opportunities for expats to fully immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Syria. By embracing local coffee traditions and customs, expats gain a deeper appreciation for Syrian culture while promoting mutual respect and understanding. It's time to raise a cup to the power of coffee and universal brotherhood!