Qishr Recipe (Yemeni Ginger Coffee)
Have you ever wondered what happens to coffee cherries after the beans have been extracted? In Yemen, dried coffee fruits are brewed into qishr ginger coffee.
Paired with some ginger and other spices, this coffee cherry drink is vastly underrated. Keep reading to find out why and how to make one.
- 1 cup dried coffee cherries (coffee husks)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons of either ground or grated ginger
- 3 cups of water
- Sugar, to taste
- A blender, mortar and pestle, or food processor
- A small saucepan or ibrik
- A metal spoon
- A fine mesh sieve
- Two, 475-ml, heat-proof mugs
At A Glance:
Two 475-ml mugs
What’s A Coffee Husk?
A coffee husk is the dried fruit surrounding the bean; it is also known as the pericarp. The pericarp comprises three layers: the skin, the sweet and sticky pulp, and the parchment (1).
Typically, this fruit is thrown away or used for composting during normal coffee bean processing. While the fruit contains lots of flavour, most people only think of the roasted bean as a commodity.
But in discarding the fruit, you miss out on many medicinal properties and health benefits. For instance, the cherries are packed with antioxidants, riboflavin, and polyphenols. Together, these antioxidants and polyphenols protect your cells from oxidative stress, which can cause many diseases.
What’s more, these polyphenols may also play a part in boosting your brain function, lowering high blood pressure, and raising your body’s natural immunity. They may reduce inflammation—which is one of the main causes of cancer—and promote youthfulness. And yes, the fruit does contain caffeine (2).
So instead of throwing the husk away, Yemen and Spain have created this coffee cherry drink. Along with other unusual coffee-derived drinks – like the chagaccino and Mazagran lemon coffee – this ginger qishr is sure to nourish your body and awaken your palate.
How to Make Qishr Ginger Coffee
First incorporated into religious ceremonies in the mid-1400s, qishr is a traditional Yemeni hot beverage that’s served to guests. With bright, fruity coffee and gingery flavours, this drink is in a class of its own.
For those of us who aren’t familiar with Yemeni culture, it’s easy to assume you need coffee beans from Yemen for qishr, ginger coffee. But just like Cascara coffee or coffee made with maca roots, qishr isn’t brewed with coffee beans. Instead, dried coffee cherries are used to brew this sweet, spicy, fruity coffee substitute. Now, let’s get to making it.
1. Grind the dried husks
Using a mortar and pestle, a blender, or a food processor, grind one cup of dried husks into a medium-coarse powder.
Pro Tip: Just as with regular coffee, be sure not to over-grind the dried cherries. Using too fine a grind size will lead to over-extraction.
2. Boil Your Water
Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan or ibrik. To give yourself extra time, do this over medium heat.
3. Combine Your Ingredients
Once your water has come to boil, add in the ground husks, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 2 teaspoons of ground or grated ginger. While ground, dried ginger is a convenient option, freshly grated ginger will give you the most vibrant ginger flavour. Stir well.
Pro Tip: While Home Grounds uses ginger, cinnamon, and cloves here, feel free to use other traditional Yemeni spices, like caraway.
4. Brew Your Qishr Ginger Coffee
Cover your ground qishr ginger beans mixture with a lid and let it steep for five to ten minutes, depending on how strong you like it.
Once time’s up, strain everything through a fine mesh sieve into a carafe or two 475-ml mugs. Add sugar to taste.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a fine mesh sieve, regular coffee filters will work just well, though the drink will have slightly less body. However, because the qishr ginger coffee will be almost boiling, it’s a good idea to place the filter in a funnel before doing this.
5. Serve Your Qishr
Serve your qishr ginger coffee piping hot. For true authenticity, pair it with hearty Yemeni and Arabian Peninsula desserts, like areeka or masoub (3).
Qishr is a healthy, spicy Yemeni coffee drink that’s too good to miss out on. Enjoyed with a classic masoub or areeka, this drink will surely find its place in your morning routine.
Have you made qishr ginger coffee? Let us know how you make it in the comments or our Home Grounds Facebook group.
Yes, qishr ginger coffee has caffeine because the cherries contain caffeine. Unfortunately, there are no decaffeinated husks.
While qishr isn’t made with coffee beans, it isn’t quite tea either. By definition, tea must be brewed with tea plants or camellia sinensis, though herbal teas flaunt this regulation.
Yes, you can add milk to your qishr. For a decadent twist on this beverage, feel free to add dark chocolate curls, honey, and frothed milk.
- sepriyany. (2017). Anatomy of a Coffee Bean – Red Berry Coffee. Redberrycoffee.co.id. http://redberrycoffee.co.id/anatomy-of-a-coffee-bean/
- WebMD. (2021, May 5). What to Know About Coffee Fruit. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-coffee-fruit
- Adil, M. (2021). Areeka | Detailed recipe | Adil Shabbir [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C8enzPvCB4&t=90s