Arabic Coffee Institute teaches Saudi youth the secrets of making specialty coffee

Al-Mohanad Al-Marwai, the co-founder and the CEO of Arabian Coffee Institute. He is one of 30 licensed coffee graders in the Kingdom; the total number of licensed coffee graders globally is only 3,000. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
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Al-Mohanad Al-Marwai, the co-founder and the CEO of Arabian Coffee Institute. He is one of 30 licensed coffee graders in the Kingdom; the total number of licensed coffee graders globally is only 3,000. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
Explaning about the stage of roasting a coffee crop, Al-Marwai said it is just “the tip of the iceberg” as there is much more behind the technique. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
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Explaning about the stage of roasting a coffee crop, Al-Marwai said it is just “the tip of the iceberg” as there is much more behind the technique. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
Al-Mohanad Al-Marwai, the co-founder and the CEO of Arabian Coffee Institute. He is one of 30 licensed coffee graders in the Kingdom; the total number of licensed coffee graders globally is only 3,000. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
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Al-Mohanad Al-Marwai, the co-founder and the CEO of Arabian Coffee Institute. He is one of 30 licensed coffee graders in the Kingdom; the total number of licensed coffee graders globally is only 3,000. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
Al-Mohanad Al-Marwai, the co-founder and the CEO of Arabian Coffee Institute. He is one of 30 licensed coffee graders in the Kingdom; the total number of licensed coffee graders globally is only 3,000. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
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Al-Mohanad Al-Marwai, the co-founder and the CEO of Arabian Coffee Institute. He is one of 30 licensed coffee graders in the Kingdom; the total number of licensed coffee graders globally is only 3,000. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
The Arabic Coffee Institute is the first coffee institute licensed by the Ministry of Culture, and it was launched in 2022. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
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The Arabic Coffee Institute is the first coffee institute licensed by the Ministry of Culture, and it was launched in 2022. (AN Photo/Ali Khamaj)
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Updated 15 March 2023
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Arabic Coffee Institute teaches Saudi youth the secrets of making specialty coffee

The Arabic Coffee Institute is the first coffee institute licensed by the Ministry of Culture, and it was launched in 2022.
  • Coffee consumption in Saudi Arabia grew by 4 percent per year between 2016 and 2021
  • Kingdom is best known for its traditional coffee, gahwa

JEDDAH: A coffee institute in the Kingdom is aiming to streamline the coffee industry and capitalize on surging consumption of Saudi products, its founder has told Arab News.

The spike in interest led to the opening of the Arabic Coffee Institute, the first center of its kind in the Kingdom, which will help entrepreneurs from the region pave their way professionally. The institute was launched in Jeddah last year and is the first to be licensed by the Ministry of Culture.

According to a report by global business analysts Euromonitor International in January 2022, coffee consumption in Saudi Arabia grew by 4 percent per year between 2016 and 2021 and is forecast to increase by a further 5 percent annually up to 2026, reaching an expected consumption of 28,700 tons each year.

Although the Kingdom is best known for its traditional coffee, gahwa, which is served with dates and highlights the Saudi style of hospitality, the science behind specialty coffee has attracted hundreds of Saudis to take a step ahead in the coffee industry. 

Al-Mohanad Al-Marwai, ACI co-founder and CEO, worked to elevate the institute from  thought to reality. “The idea of the institute is 12 years old, but we started a few years ago. Its proof of concept is five years old,” he told Arab News.

ACI aims to develop the coffee sector by qualifying Saudi youth and enriching local talent. Al-Marwai said: “It is the first institute of its kind in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, with a special focus on training those interested in the field of coffee based on international curricula by a team of experts, researchers and trainers. We cover the whole value chain from the seed to the cup provided to the consumer and after that, including research and development.”

The institute has received endorsements from the Saudi Technical Vocational and Training Corporation and is authorized by four international coffee associations including AST, Coffee Quality Institute, the Coffee Skills Program and Specialty Coffee Association.

ACI is currently under the umbrella of Coffee Lights company, which is specialized in the operation of coffee shops, consultation, training of staff and baristas, as well as the import and export of coffee.

The ACI aims to become one of the leading international coffee organizations in the Middle East and will be launched this year in Riyadh, the Eastern Province and Jazan. The institute has plans to expand to other countries in the Arab world, including the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan.

Through leading the institute, Al-Marwai offers Saudi cafes a transparent supply chain of authentic specialty coffee to be served to the public. Over the past 12 years, Al-Marwai has founded eight companies in Saudi Arabia, Uganda, the UK and the US.

“There are only 30 certified coffee instructors distributed among the Kingdom. ACI has 13 of them — most of which have been trained at ACI, At a world level, there are only around 3,000 Certified Q Graders, of which ACI has 4,” Al-Marwai said. CQIs are professionals skilled in the sensory evaluation of coffee quality.

“With over 2,000 trainees enrolled, within 2023, ACI aims to receive 50,000 trainees as we have more than 70 courses of international standards to offer,” Al-Marwai added.

The institute offers accredited, customized and online training courses, as well as institutional solutions and consultation services. Courses cover brewing, barista and sensory skills, as well as coffee farming and roasting.

Speaking of coffee roasting as one of the integral aspects in the world of specialty coffee, Al-Marwai said it is just “the tip of the iceberg.” There are many sensitive skills, standards and operations behind roasting coffee that should be acquired before rushing into the business as it costs a whole crop, he added.

“We don’t just teach roasting as a technical skill, we teach roasting as a business to make sure that trainers succeed and make money,”Al-Marwai said.

Under his leadership is Ash Cafes and Roastery in Jeddah, a place known for its high-quality coffee and appealing ambiance, and which was also listed recently by the Ministry of Tourism as one of the top five cafes in the region.

After only one year of launching the institute, a series of significant partnerships and MoUs were signed with the government and private sectors seeking to enable Saudi youth to contribute economically and achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Last year, in line with the goals of the Culinary Arts Commission, the Ministry of Culture, the Saudi Coffee Company under the umbrella of the Saudi Coffee Year 2022 and ACI signed a cooperative agreement with Community Jameel to launch a program to develop the coffee sector with the aim of qualifying Saudi youth in the industry.

ACI also signed an array of partnerships with Al-Hokair Group, the Saudi Coffee Company, Bunyan and the University of Prince Mugrin to accommodate different coffee-related aspects such as education, hospitality training, development of standards and metrics, research and development, and more.

The institute took part in the first “Coffeethon,” a technical challenge that was conducted in Riyadh for six days in December. The event highlighted the framework of the coffee production chain and devised projects to serve the industry.

Recently, ACI signed an agreement with Jazan Chamber to implement several development and training programs in the region’s coffee industry and support coffee farmers.

The institute is also planning to launch a coffee magazine to highlight the latest trends in the industry for the Saudi community.


Saudi king, crown prince congratulate Kuwait’s emir on National Day

Saudi king, crown prince congratulate Kuwait’s emir on National Day
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi king, crown prince congratulate Kuwait’s emir on National Day

Saudi king, crown prince congratulate Kuwait’s emir on National Day

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent on Sunday a congratulatory telegram to Sheikh Mishal Al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait, on the occasion of his country’s National Day.

King Salman and the crown prince wished the emir and the people of Kuwait good health and happiness.

Kuwait celebrated its 63rd National Day and its 33rd Liberation Day from Iraq.  

Buildings around the country were covered in lights in the colours of Kuwait’s flag. 


Two Saudi planes deliver trucks, forklifts to support Egyptian relief efforts for Gaza

Two Saudi planes deliver trucks, forklifts to support Egyptian relief efforts for Gaza
Updated 25 February 2024
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Two Saudi planes deliver trucks, forklifts to support Egyptian relief efforts for Gaza

Two Saudi planes deliver trucks, forklifts to support Egyptian relief efforts for Gaza
  • KSrelief teams also continued food distribution efforts in crisis-affected Lebanon and Sudan

RIYADH: Two Saudi aid planes, carrying trucks and forklifts to help relief efforts for Gaza, arrived in Egypt’s El-Arish International Airport, state news agency SPA reported.

The two trucks and forklifts were delivered to the Egyptian Red Crescent to facilitate the loading and transportation of aid arriving at El-Arish for the people of Gaza.

The aid marked the 39th and 40th Saudi relief planes dispatched by aid agency KSrelief since the launch of a national campaign in Saudi Arabia in November last year to support the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Israel’s intense bombardment on Gaza since Oct. 7 has killed almost 30,000 Palestinians and displaced about 2.4 million people.

“This comes within the framework of the historical role of the Kingdom, known for its longstanding commitment to standing by needy and affected countries and peoples around the world in various crises and challenges they face,” KSrelief said in a statement.

Meanwhile, KSrelief teams continued food distribution efforts in crisis-affected Lebanon and Sudan.

Syrian and Palestinian refugees, as well as the host community in northern Lebanon, receive bread daily. (Supplied)

A total of 25,000 bags of bread are being distributed daily among Syrian and Palestinian refugees, as well as the host community in northern Lebanon, as part of Al-Amal Charitable Bakery project, in Akkar Governorate and Al-Minieh District.

In Sudan, 2,570 beneficiaries in El-Suki locality of Sennar State received 641 food baskets as part of the Food Security Support Project.


Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future

Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future

Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future
  • Local, regional and global specialists and decision-makers to feature in 2-day gathering in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will launch the first Environmental Compliance Forum 2024 on Sunday.

The Riyadh forum, which is being organized by the National Center for Environmental Compliance, will feature local, regional and global specialists and decision-makers in the field of the environment, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

The two-day gathering will seek to develop a comprehensive vision for the advancement of the environmental sector between the governmental, private and nonprofit sectors.

Saad Al-Matrafi, the center’s spokesman, said that more than 40 international and regional figures from 10 countries will discuss topics related to future trends in the field of the sustainable environment.

He said that the forum will offer a platform for discussing best practices in the field of the environment, in addition to supporting environmental research, innovations and technologies, with one section designated the Sustainability Cafe.

Al-Matrafi said that the event offers a rare opportunity for institutions and companies to review their projects, initiatives and tools that support environmental sustainability, and come up with the best global environmental practices by harmonizing plans and projects that contribute to the successful implementation of everything that serves the sustainable environment sector.

The forum’s sessions will discuss the challenges in advancing economic growth and diversification, in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as well as unifying efforts to achieve a qualitative shift in the national economy while protecting and preserving the Kingdom’s natural resources and habitats.

The forum will also deal with other topics, including how to chart the way to a brighter future, policy and governance, technology and innovation in the field of the environment, sustainable development and quality of life, private sector participation, community participation, and youth and the environment.

Meanwhile, the Sustainability Cafe will encourage young people to discuss their aspirations and roles regarding the environment, with the participation of several specialized environmental associations.

Participants will include several CEOs of national environmental centers, and major national companies such as NEOM, Red Sea Global, the New Square Development Company, and the Saudi Mining Company.


Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone

Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone
Updated 24 February 2024
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Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone

Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone
  • The visit came within the framework of enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise in the field of the aviation and space industry
  • The representatives toured COMAC’s factories and facilities and were briefed on the stages of aircraft manufacturing

RIYADH: A high-ranking delegation from Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation sector has visited the headquarters of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China in Shanghai, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Headed by the President of the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej, the delegation also visited the assembly line of the C-919 and ARJ-21 aircraft in Shanghai and the economic zone at Zhengzhou Airport.

The representatives toured COMAC’s factories and facilities and were briefed on the stages of aircraft manufacturing, the company’s future plans for testing and assembly facilities, and the latest technologies and innovations in the aviation industry.

They listened to a presentation of COMAC’s missions and the details of designing and developing the various aircraft produced by the company, in addition to a look at the organization’s history since 2008, the development of its products, the ongoing specialized research on more efficient and sustainable solutions, and its tasks and responsibilities in the design, development and production of commercial aircraft.

The delegation also visited the economic zone at Zhengzhou Airport and heard about the work of specialized companies and institutions; the development of local manufacturing capabilities; enhancing cooperation with foreign companies to improve the quality of products; increasing competition at global level; and contributing to improving the quality of products and developing advanced technology.

Al-Duailej, in the presence of vice presidents, CEOs, officials, and several experts in the field of aviation, airports, and the service sectors of the aviation system, held a meeting with the Executive Vice Gov. of Henan Province Sun Shougang.

The meeting focused on several issues of common interest and ways to strengthen areas of joint cooperation in the field of civil aviation.

The visit came within the framework of enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise in the field of the aviation and space industry, and exploring opportunities for joint cooperation in improving manufacturing, innovation and air cargo capabilities, along with attracting investment and enhancing international trade in the sector.


Najdi Ardah — a testament to vibrant Saudi history

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2024
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Najdi Ardah — a testament to vibrant Saudi history

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
  • Saleh Nasser Al-Abdulwahed, leader of the Saudi Ardah group, told Arab News that the Najdi ardah “stands as a testament to Saudi history”

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia is home to a rich tapestry of folkloric arts, each with its own distinct features, but all with the same purpose: to express the Kingdom’s history, culture, and heroism.

Over time, these artistic traditions have become essential components of a variety of events and holidays. They predominantly take the form of ardah — group war dances which were originally intended to terrify enemies by showcasing the performers’ military prowess and the power and courage rooted in their past.

Of the many types of ardah, the most popular style in the Kingdom is the Najdi ardah, also known as the Saudi ardah.

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)

Saleh Nasser Al-Abdulwahed, leader of the Saudi Ardah group, told Arab News that the Najdi ardah “stands as a testament to Saudi history.”

The Najdi Ardah begins with the recital of a poem, after which the drummers begin, establishing the rhythm for the dancers to follow. The group leader then takes the stage, wielding a blade and demonstrating well-practiced movements that match those of warriors in battle. He expertly maneuvers the sword, occasionally laying it on his shoulder, lifting it high, or holding it on its side. He also uses precise finger movements to move the blade in a circular motion, demonstrating his expertise.

Usually, the dancers will be dressed in their finest military outfits.

FASTFACT

The Najdi Ardah begins with the recital of a poem, after which the drummers begin, establishing the rhythm for the dancers to follow.

“Ardah performers don Al-Murawden military uniform, featuring long sleeves. They complement it with Al-Zaboun, a finely crafted wooden cashmere fabric adorned with a cashmere shawl, meticulously made by hand, resembling the ‘dagla’ gown,” Al-Abdulwahed explained. “Additionally, the performers may opt for Al-Saya, a tailored white summer fabric, or the Jokha, which is usually reserved for dignitaries such as kings, princes, and knights.”

He noted that warriors typically choose red clothing, though the shades could vary from a bright, blood-like tone to a more muted burgundy.

The performers will also typically be heavily armed, wearing a dagger, a gun holster, a bullet holder known as mujannad, and a sword. When wearing the uniform, the participant positions his pistol holster to the left and mujannad to the right. Various types of sword are used, each with its own sheath.

The Najdi ardah is a cultural touchstone for many Saudi nationals, and remains widely practiced today, not only in the central part of the Kingdom, but all over the country. It is frequently showcased at weddings. Its involvement in such ceremonies creates a sense of joy and delight, enthralling both older and younger generations.

Folk arts in other regions

The Hejaz region is one of the Kingdom’s most diverse in terms of folk arts. It is renowned for the Majrour art form, characterized by two facing rows of performers wearing tied and belted headbands. Each individual holds a daf in hand, contributing to the performance with special tunes and melodies.

The Yanbawi tarab is a form of collective musical expression, featuring the use of a stringed instrument called a simsimiyya, which is closely tied to maritime culture.

In Taif, the ardah Al-Zir takes center stage during special occasions and holidays. This dance involves the use of swords, guns, and daggers, and is a significant element of cultural festivities.

In the northern region, the traditional arts of Al-Samari and Al-Dahha come to life with two opposing rows of performers creating harmonious rhythms, playing melodies such as Al-Mashoub, Al-Zubai, and Al-Hajini.