Khawlani coffee is cultivated in the mountainous areas of southern Saudi Arabia and it is famous for farmers in the mountains because the regions climate is favorable for adapting to the needs of the coffee tree.
Farmers work on growing coffee from lands in agricultural terraces started from plowing to planting seedlings to grow and harvesting.
The know-how associated with planting and processing the Khawalni beans are:
- Planting: The cultivation process starts by planting the seeds in soil placed in mesh bags that are stored in cool shaded area for 3-4 months, then the seedling is transferred to plowed lands and placed in to holes 60cm deep and 1.5m apart. Giving the trees enough space to grow and spread its branches.
- Blooming: This is a beautiful stage, as the branches are covered in white flowers right before the fruits start to grow.
- Harvesting: The tree takes up to 2-3 years to grow fruits, small round green fruits grow and gradually turn yellow then orange and finally become red. The red color is an indication that the fruit is ready for picking, the technique for picking them is done one by one using a twisting method to insure the branch is not hurt in the process in order to produce more fruits next season.
- Pruning: after the harvesting season the tree branches need to be trimmed from the old and useless branches, this helps the tree in growing new branches and producing more fruits.
- Dehydration: After the collection of the fruits in leather or fabric pouches, they are transferred to the roof tops of the houses or dehydration beds in cool shaded area for the water content to dissolve slowly to maintain the sweetness and transfer the flavours from the shell to the bean. Also, the beans need to be tossed and turned frequently to prevent mold growth. An indication of fully dried fruits is when they are all fully black in color.
- Grinding: The beans are grinded on a large flat stone called “Mathanah” using a long cylinder stone to crush the fruit to separate the bean from the shell in a way that prevents the coffee bean from cracking.
When the coffee beans are dry, the ladies grind the grains using a stone mill to separate the coffee beans from the shells and use the shells to make a drink called “Gesher”’.
Coffee beans are used to make Arabic coffee after its roasted and grinded, for it is used by Saudi society in daily life and hospitality.