Lavazza, Coffee Roots: Egypt part 4

Uploaded by lavazza on 24.02.2012

At the beginning of the 16th century
the Sufi, the Islamic mystics,
introduced coffee in this area.
They would use it
during their exhausting
dance and prayer rituals.
They claimed coffee helped them
to focus, reach ecstasy
and get in touch with God.
This custom still survives
thanks to the Nar-Fashi,
who put on a show
every Wednesday and Saturday night
tracing splendid figures
with their colourful costumes.
Their dances are always preceded
by long and deep concentration
away from prying eyes.
The mystical and religious worth today is gone;
these ceremonies are now
more of a tourist attraction.
But coffee is still
the dancers’ favourite beverage.
Coffee is a part of political reflection
and debate, and is a vital element
of every successful bargain.
The precious brew is the star
of the Birqash camel market
just outside the capital.
This dry village is the stage
of habitual haggling between merchants
and Bedouin camel drivers.
There are thousands of camels for sale;
often, they come from very far away.
Following the Muslim tradition,
the price of the merchandise
is never set beforehand;
in fact, it is the outcome of long mediation.
The haggling can go on all day,
away from the city’s chaos.
And in the end, once the deal has been sealed,
the parties celebrate with puffs of smoke
and delicious cups of coffee.