From Waste to Brew: The Dawoodi Bohra Community’s Sustainable Coffee Alternative

As the sun sets for iftar and the evening sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues, 13-year-old Taher Hamed and his friends make their way through the bustling rows of Hakimi Masjid in Ajman to collect a treasure that goes unnoticed by most—date seeds.

Striving to reduce waste and live more sustainably, the Dawoodi Bohra community of Ajman is embracing an innovative method to transform discarded date seeds into a healthy and eco-friendly substitute to coffee.

Taher expressed, “Traditionally, date seeds are overlooked and discarded into the waste bin after the consumption of the sweet fruit. However, Dawoodi Bohra community members across the globe are upholding the values of sustainability as per the teachings of Sultan al Bohra Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin by adding value to waste.

“The journey from discarded seeds to aromatic date seed powder is a meticulous process requiring two-three days of patience, dedication, and mostly a deep commitment to food and environmental sustainability. The date seed powder is given to community members for their personal use without any commercial motive.”

The first step in this transformative process involves the collection of date seeds after iftar. These seeds are then carefully sorted, washed and dried before being baked at a certain temperature. Once the seeds have gone through these processes, they are then ground into a fine powder, much like coffee beans, to produce a caffeine-free coffee alternative with the essence of dates.

The resulting drink offers a unique taste and is sometimes preferred for its health benefits and as an alternative to regular coffee for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake. Date seed coffee is also rich in antioxidants and has been researched for its potential health benefits, which include anti-inflammatory properties.

Murtaza Kanchwala, coordinator of the Nazafat (cleanliness) volunteer team in Ajman said, “A dedicated team of fifteen young Nazafat volunteers oversee the process with unwavering diligence and expertise.”

Daily, approximately 800 grams to 1 kilogram of date seeds are collected from the Ajman community centre alone, highlighting the scale and impact of this initiative. Their collective efforts ensure that each step, from seed collection and distribution to holding sessions to educate people about the importance of reducing food waste is executed seamlessly.

He added, “Beyond its environmental implications, this initiative by our volunteers, as part of the community’s environmental body Burhani Foundation, underscores the Dawoodi Bohra’s continued dedication to promoting a healthy and sustainable way of life. By embracing such unique ideas and alternatives, we are demonstrating that small, consistent steps can yield large, positive change.”

The journey from discarded date seeds to sustainable coffee embodies the transformative power of collective, community-driven initiatives. 

As the world grapples with pressing environmental challenges, the Dawoodi Bohra community of the UAE stands as an example of how dedication and a shared commitment to sustainability can help to pave the way towards a brighter, greener future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *