Arabian Knight finds out more about the art of coffee creation at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh
In many parts of the world, coffee is not just a caffeine-loaded drink but much more and the age of specialty coffee has arrived in The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.
Coffee may be made any number of times in the day and the custom of drinking small cups in the traditional Arab way and the importance attached to the ritual of coffee drinking cannot be underestimated.
In fact, coffee has been connecting people for hundreds of years, especially in the Middle East, and it is deeply rooted in the heart of local Arab culture and tradition. The coffee-making traditions of old with the ceremony of placing coffee beans in a box and then transferring them to a mortar and pestle resonate with history.
The coffee grinder has pride of place too in his ability to rhythmically pound the coffee before preparation in the traditional coffee pots.
The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh is committed to making the sounds and preparation of coffee a sheer delight for its hospitality to guests based upon the art behind its creation, and a pleasure behind its consumption. Today, coffee has become a symbol for appreciation, hospitality and warm greetings. Indeed for the Arab world, the preparation and drinking of coffee – whether as a host or a guest – and the methods of preparation in creating an authentic coffee flavour is a precious process that should not be taken lightly.
At The Ritz-Carlton in the Saudi capital, the traditional approach to providing exquisite coffee flavours is enjoying a renaissance with great attention to detail. Expert staff trained in the noble craft of coffee-making, both traditional and modern, deliver exceptional coffee flavours and presentation techniques to guests.
Each step of the process is meticulously observed as in the traditional times of coffee-making, from sourcing the necessary quantity of the precious coffee beans, adding flavours such as cardamom, boiling the water and infusing the grounded coffee to presenting the cup.
At The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh the hotel uses only the top five per cent of beans produced in the world originating from three countries – Colombia, East Java in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Known to be the best coffee from Colombia, the hotel’s Colombian coffee is grown 1,600 m above sea-level and is renowned for its flavour and aroma.
Fresh from one of the oldest farms in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian coffee includes a range of flavours such as berries, jasmine and bittersweet chocolate. The precious beans selected involve careful handpicking to make this the highest grading of all Ethiopian coffees.
Grown in the island of East Java, this historic and bold flavoured Indonesian coffee includes nuts, grapes and chocolates offering vibrant flavours to those aficionados that love their coffee strong.
The Ritz-Carlton uses four different methods of coffee-brewing that gives a special flavour and aroma or perfume to the coffee. As Food and Beverage Manager Maxim Johannes Schulte explains: “Here at The Ritz-Carlton, we are passionate about creating something special and something new for our discerning guests.”
A career hotelier who hails from Germany, Schulte has taken a singular interest in coffee innovation and the techniques required to provide superlative flavours.
“It is also about innovation and not standing still in terms of what we should offer our clients. I am passionate about the art of coffee-making. We are being innovative in terms of utilising the modern processes we have available and drawing from across the world to create the flavours and provide memorable experiences,” he says.
Elaborating on the techniques and terms used in making coffee, he continues: “Syphone includes a vacuum technique preparation which produces an intense hot and bold cup of coffee full of flavour, yet very clean and smooth to the palate. The Pour Over method is a traditional way of brewing the coffee in the most gentle way possible to create a smooth and aromatic experience. Meanwhile, AeroPress applies pressure to coffee beans through a filter to produce a creamy and pure taste, and the Cold Brew technique brings not just visual, but also tasty benefits. When cold coffee is brewed some bitter and acidic elements from the coffee beans are extracted creating a sweeter, fruitier and softer flavoured coffee experience.
The Chorisia lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh offers a great selection of desserts, macaroons and cookies to perfectly match with any choice of coffee, he adds.
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