Coffee is extremely important in Qatari culture. Arabian coffee is of a very high quality and made from a lightly roasted bean spiced with cardamom and either sweetened or served with dates. It is drunk in small, thimble-like cups in homes and offices.
Thickly brewed Turkish coffee is also very popular. It is common for people to have jugs of tea and coffee ready for visitors. On special occasions a sweet coffee known as qahwa helw is served. It is a bright orange infusion of saffron, cardamom and sugar.
Fresh fruit and herb cocktails are very popular and sold by street vendors throughout the country. Popular local choices are a mint and lemon cocktail or an avocado smoothie. Mains supplied water in Qatar is safe to drink, although bottled water is preferred by many.
Qatar is a Muslim country and although alcohol is not illegal, it is only available in licenced hotels and restaurants. Alcohol for home consumption can only be purchased from the Qatar Distribution Company, and a licence is required.
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