Go to Jordan for the ruins and the landscapes, stay for the coffee. Genevieve Hathaway lists the country’s top five spots to sip.
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The preparing and serving of coffee and tea in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is steeped in a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. These hot beverages and the customs that surround them play an important role in Jordan’s cultural warmth and hospitality. This tradition brings people together, as well as demonstrates respect to guests. In Jordan’s Bedouin history, the first cup of hot coffee is called thayf (for the guest), a sign of hospitality. The next cup is called l’kayf (for the mood) to set the intention for a relaxed feeling. The last cup is referred to as l’sayf (for the sword) showing that any anger or division between people is no longer.
Written by Genevieve Hathaway
Throughout Jordan’s history, coffee and tea were prepared over the hot coals of the fire hearth. This cooking area served as a gathering point for both family members and also the larger community. Today, cafés in Jordan draw from this history and are an extension of the home. Jordanians gather daily at cafés with friends, family, colleagues, and even complete strangers to connect and share in life. Here, the café is a place to linger with good company, enjoy intriguing conversation, and sip a steaming cup of coffee or tea.
To experience Jordan’s cultural pulse, spend time in its cafés. You’ll see all slices of Jordanian life come together, whether you’re looking for a cup of sweet mint tea or strong Arabic coffee, or want to smoke a shisha pipe. Below are a number of unique cafés that are hot spots amongst locals.
Wild Jordan Café, Amman
Part of the Wild Jordan Center (which promotes eco-tourism with tours that explore reserves), Wild Jordan Café has a prime location overlooking the heart of Amman and the citadel. With sweeping views of Amman’s historic old town, this café is a perfect location to sip away with friends while watching the sun set over Jordan’s capital. In the evenings, it’s a popular spot for young, hip Jordanians to meet and mingle with friends.
- Address: Othman Bin Affan St, Amman (Google Map)
- Website: http://wildjordancenter.com
- Phone: +962 6 461 6523
- Opening hours: Sun-Thu: 9am-11pm; Fri – Sat: Brunch 9am-12pm, lunch 12pm-11pm
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WildJordanCenter/
Dana Guesthouse Café, Dana Nature Reserve
A popular holiday destination for both local Jordanians and foreign travellers alike, the café at the Dana Guesthouse has arguably one of the best views in all of Jordan. Built into the cliff face overlooking the striking, rugged landscape of the Dana Nature Reserve, this cozy stone-and-wood café is a great location to mingle with other travellers and enjoy a few quiet moments. The locals who run the Dana Guesthouse and Café are always eager to share information about the nature reserve they care for and also about local customs and culture.
- Address: Dana Guest House is approximately 190 km from Amman, close to the village of Dana, Jordan.
- How to get there: 5-hour direct flight to Queen Alia International Airport, Amman. Dana Gust house is suited as part of a wider Jordan itinerary. Approximately 2.5-hour drive from Amman and a 1.5-hour drive from Petra
Darat al-Funun, Amman
A long-time favourite location for artists, writers, and intellectuals, Darat al-Funun is located in Amman’s cultural centre. Surrounded by leafy gardens and ruins of a Byzantine church, this café is a quiet oasis amongst the busy pace of Amman. It prides itself on serving finely crafted coffee and tea sourced locally. This quiet, art-focused café is a great spot to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.
- Address: 13 Nadim al Mallah St, Weibdeh Amman (Google Map)
- Website: http://www.daratalfunun.org
- Phone: +962 6 4643251, +962 6 4643252
- Opening hours: 10am – 7pm, Sat-Thu
- Email: [email protected]
Café overlooking the Monastery, Petra
After the hot, steep hike of thousands of steps up to Petra’s famed Monastery ruin, some refreshments are just what most travellers are in need of, and a tiny café high above the Monastery is ready to deliver with cool, high-priced drinks, and spectacular views of the Nabatean ruins and surrounding wadis. Arrive late in the day for the best views (and photos) of the Monastery, when the light is soft, and the ruins glow with an orangey hue. Take advantage of the quieter atmosphere to chat with the locals running it –– many are Bedouin who grew up living in the ruins of Petra. They offer a warm welcome for travellers and enjoy sharing a few stories about Bedouin culture and history.
Dead Sea Panorama Café and Restaurant
This gathering spot is situated on a desert mountain with panoramic views of the Dead Sea. Join the locals who flock here at sunset for a coffee, tea (or even a glass of wine), and enjoy the best view around. On a clear day, spot the Judea Mountains and the lights of Israel way off in the distance. The café building is located on the edge of the Arabian plate and is attached to a wonderful museum detailing the history of the Dead Sea and the surrounding area. Whether just driving through or staying at the Dead Sea, this little local gem is worth a stop.
- Address: Dead Sea Panoramaic Complex | Between Hammamet Ma’in and Madaba, Jordan
- Phone: +962 5 3491 133
- Opening hours: Dead Sea Panoramic Complex is open daily from 9:00 am to 4.00 pm winter time, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm summer time
- Email: [email protected]