Whoever thinks that money is an essential ingredient for happiness has not met Elie, the owner of REEL, internet café in Deir el-Qamar, Lebanon.
I have always known Elie as a rather quiet, serious person; one night, I noticed a small coffee machine and asked him about it; his face lit up; he got up from his desk chair and opened up the machine with a key, inserting a 500LL (35 US cents) to show me how it could make me Turkish coffee to order, customized the way it is done all over Lebanon by a human.
He went on to explain that this was no ordinary Turkish coffee machine, which makes it in one big container and reheats the coffee each time. His face beaming from ear to ear, he said ” this machine is made in Lebanon, invented by four engineers at Najjar! “; he pointed out the little pot inside, known as rakweh; he said, contentment all over his face: ” I love my coffee and I want it strong, the way it should be! Look, how do you like yours? with sugar, a little sugar, no sugar?” He adjusted the knobs; then we watched, mesmerized, the water and the coffee boiling furiously; a minute later, the rakweh was tilted and coffee poured. Elie gave me a look of intense satisfaction and pride. My Turkish coffee was served.
Every morning, Elie added, his buddies come over for a cup and a little visit; a Lebanese tradition, a sobhiyyeh.
Happiness for 35 cents.
TO MAKE TURKISH COFFEE: insert 500LL in slot; select sugar level; wait 1 minute for a to-order cup of Turkish coffee.
For details on how to make Turkish coffee by hand, please watch for a future post; although these days, I am tempted to give up the manual habit altogether after discovering this machine.