Sugar is NOT Added Last, Son (Micro Fiction)

This week, the folks at What Pegman Saw have brought us to Tel Saki, Syria (here).

I decided to write about some Syrian folks who have been displaced from their home, but they are still trying to keep coffee traditions alive:

Making Coffee (fiction word count: 150)

It was still dark as the family prepped their cafe.

“No, Asu,” the man griped, “Sugar is added when the water boils.”

“Why pappa? If they want it sweet let’em add sugar at the end.”

Cupping his hand along the long-handled bronze pot, pappa explained: “Proper coffee is part of our heritage. We might be miles from our native land, but we mustn’t let Syrian traditions dwindle or weaken.”

“Show me again.”

“Line up pots. One for each: without sugar (murrah), low sugar (mazboutah), and sweet (hilweh).

Add water, sugar, coffee, and cardamom.

Stir gently until foaming. Remove from fire.

Spoon foam into each patron’s cup.

Put the coffeepot back on the burner for a quick reheat – no boil.

Then, and only then, pour coffee into the cups as the foam rises up.

“So….” Asu chimed in, sugar in first helps the foam?”

“Yes – and allows better flavor assimilation.”

To join in with this fiction challenge, or to read more , go here.

The writing aim is to write a short fiction piece in 150 words or less – based on the location provided.

Author’s Notes:

This week’s location of Tel Saki, Syria had me considering a few angles.

First, I thought about the wine brothers, Karim and Sandro Saadé, who manage wine-making from grapes that are harvested from the slopes of the Coastal Mountain Range in Syria (more here). But I did not want to write about wine this week.

Second, I thought of writing a little bit about Lake Ram, which is a crater lake (maar) in the northeastern Golan Heights, but that felt dry.

Third, I thought about addressing something with the Syrian Druze community that used to reside in Golan Heights and how they fled to other parts of Syria following the wars with Israel in 1967 and 1973. But that was feeling way too political.

Then, after reading about how Syrian coffee is a lot like Turkish coffee and finding some cool images – and after reading Dan’s post (here) – I decided to have a little vignette of a displaced family where the father was helping his son to keep proper coffee-making traditions alive. 

I read: “When walking around a Syrian city, you will often see giant reproductions of coffee pots, because the Syrians consider coffee part of their lifestyle, and this is how they like to show it. Coffee is always served on important occasions: from prenuptial meetings of prospective wives through to purification rituals and funerals. The coffee-drinking ritual can transform even an ordinary visit to a Syrian home into a solemn occasion.”

And in my fiction, I tried to show assimilation of flavor while this family tried to prevent too much culture assimilation while being displaced from their homeland. 

And maybe a little play on elevation with the “still dark” (sun not up) and then foam rises up at end – maybe?

Thanks for reading and hope you have a nice day.


30 thoughts on “Sugar is NOT Added Last, Son (Micro Fiction)

  1. And, as I recall, that coffee is really strong. It’s funny about sugar. There is a recipe where my grandmother insisted that the sugar go in at s certain point. Her daughters disagreed. But, they also complained that their results were never as good as their mother’s.

    Thanks for the mention.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. well maybe that was why it was never as good…. maybe it does need to go in at a certain time.
      In the 80s – I once listened to a chemist go on and on about how sugar and cream completely changes the chemical composition of coffee – it was interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi YC – yes, I sequenced it exactly as I read it for Turkish coffee, which I heard is the same way. So I am still speculating but I assume so.
      I had similar coffee to this in the 1990s (at an event called Arabian Nights) and it was the best coffee I have ever had.
      the foam – the strong coffee taste and at the time – I had mine sweet. Now – I might have no or low sugar – what about you? sugar or no?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Now I adopt no sugar in my coffee. I used to like sugar in my coffee (or could not take it if there is no sugar) too. I still prefer cream or milk in my coffee but I can also take without it too. How about you – milk/cream ?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. for me – it depends on the day – the needs – and other factors – 🙂
          usually like unsweetened almond milk, dash of organic and unsweetened cocoa powder and coffee….
          and did you know that a little baking soda in the ground can reduce acid levels on coffees that are highly acidic – it really smooths out the flavor too

          Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fascinating and lovely read. Dad showing his son how to make coffee, passing his heritage on. A lovely technique. Well done


  3. Dear Yvette,

    The coffee sounds strong and wonderful. I love that the father is determined to keep the custom alive. Some traditions should never be lost. Good story.



    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like where you took the prompt. A gentle story – father to son – with a little lesson involved. I also enjoyed the picture of the man! Our neighbor brought us one of those coffee makers from turkey. When you come over to share the food I researched, we’ll make coffee in that pot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well alicia – you have a deal. and let’s add the sugar last – ha
      and we can review some of your “up from the ashes” stories from over the years 🙂


  5. When it comes to coffee, the older the method, the stronger the brew — always the best. This reminds me of Turkish coffee, which I’ve only recently begun to brew. I’m sure all the oldest origins of coffee have their perks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well I guess that syrian coffee is very simialr to turkish coffee – and trikish os coffee is some of the bestest coffee I have ever had – I am curious as to how you make yours.
      The hubs got some Russian coffee for Xmas and we have had that all week – it is a strong brew – nothing like turkish – but was nice this week (for change)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I made mine by watching numerous tutorial and with great trial and error. Most importantly, asking people who make it what brands they use.

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.