Libyans consume vast amounts of coffee but as the fasting month of Ramadan approaches many are preparing to go without.
In Libya, drinking coffee goes back centuries but when Italy occupied Libya in 1911, traditions changed.
These days young people have replaced the old beverage for Italian style espresso or macchiato.
“The older generation still loves its Arabic coffee, but young people mostly order espresso or macchiato. They do not like Arabic coffee anymore, yet some youths still love to drink it”, said Mohamed Zourgani, owner of a cafe in the Old City of Tripoli.
Locals like to boast that Libyan coffee is different and unique.
“If you were to order a macchiato in Tunis, you would not find a shop that makes it like the Libyans do, because we learnt it from the Italians. Libyans make coffee the Italian way. If you walk through Tunis, you don’t find coffee of this quality made in this way with such (Italian, Ed.) machines”, affirmed Abdel Basset Hamza , owner of a luggage shop in the Old City of Tripoli.
During Ramadan, observant Muslims everywhere are expected to refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk.
“You will find that coffee is a part of every meal. During Ramadan, coffee is on every iftar table. It’s essential in our culture”, added Ali Khawaja, a resident in Tripoli.
The holy month of Ramadan starts this Thursday.
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