The where, When and How of Gahwa etiquette

By Johara Al Mogbel

The art of gahwa pouring can be tricky to master. With so many do’s and don’ts, a majlis can be a pretty dangerous minefield to cross. Which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to save you from harm and potential shame on the family name. You’re quite welcome.


1- Hold the dalah (pot) with your left hand, and the fanajeen (cups) with your right.

2- Pour just the right amount in a finjan. Too much means you want to your guest to leave and too little means you’re stingy with your coffee. Both are deathly offensive.

3- Offer the finjan to your guest with your right hand.


1- It can be hard to see who has run out of coffee, so stay on high alert. Some will make your life easier and raise their fanajeen for you to see, but with others you may have to superciliously check.

2- It might be easier to wait till the majority of people drink their gahwa then walk around again.

3- If someone puts a hand over their finjan, or shakes it, they mean they’re done. Move the dirty finjan to the bottom of the stack of cups in your hand, continue pouring for others, then hand off the ‘done’ fanajeen to the designated tray.

Maneuvering in the Majlis:
Always start with the oldest guests. If you have guests of honor, head first to them too.

After pouring for those guests, start on the right of the majlis. Then make your way around.

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