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Arabic Coffee Set

A taste of the old country
These two silver and brass coffee makes and matching coffee cups were once important parts of an Arab-American household in Peoria, IL. They probably originated in Zahle, a market town in present-day Lebanon, where silversmiths handcrafted such items in the local bazaar, or suq. They probably came to the United States in the 1890s, the time of early Arab immigration. As they assimilated into mainstream American society, Arab Americans continued to maintain elements of their cultural heritage. In the home they cooked with aromatic spices, played traditional Near Eastern music, smoked water pipes--and socialized over strong Arabic coffee. One coffee maker was large enough to make just one individual serving--for good reason. When making coffee for a guest, it was considered a sign of respect to prepare just one cup at a time.

Collection donated to the Smithsonian by the children of Faris and Yamna Naff, beginning in 1983.
Web display only

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· Arab American Immigration

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