Amman, Jordan’s capital and largest city, has gone by many names—‘Ain Ghazal in 7200 BCE, Ammon during the Ammonite Kingdom, and Philadelphia under the Roman Empire. Despite its long history, at the end of the 20th century the city consisted primarily of a small community of Circassian immigrants. However, after it became the capital in 1921, internal migration and waves of refugees from Palestine, Iraq, and Syria led to a population boom. These communities have left their mark on Amman, and today the city has a population of more than four million. Despite its size, Amman has been treated by many visitors as a city that lacks the “authenticity” of other regional capitals like Jerusalem and Damascus. But since its modern founding, Amman has been a religiously and ethnically diverse capital that has served as a space of refuge for migrants fleeing other parts of the Middle East.
Amman’s diversity is also reflected in its expanding coffee scene. Ammanis love coffee, but it was only recently that specialty coffee gained traction in Jordan. A significant part of this growth can be attributed to younger Jordanians traveling around the world, cultivating a desire to bring the coffee experiences that they’ve had abroad back home. The result is that coffee in Amman is no longer defined exclusively by roadside coffee stalls and late-night cafes. This guide is intended as a first foray into Amman’s coffee community, highlighting a selection of the cafes that can be found throughout the hills defining the cityscape. (And besides these featured, I’d also recommend checking out Bunni Coffee Roasters, which just opened in Weibdeh, as well as Kava Roasters in Abdoun.)
The Coffee Room
If you ask Ammanis to tell you about the most historic areas of their city, Jabal al-Lweibdeh (Weibdeh) will inevitably be mentioned. As people expanded out of downtown in the 1920s, Weibdeh was one of the first places they went. Since then it has been home to prominent Jordanian writers, poets, and politicians. Over the last five years, Weibdeh has also become one of the most popular areas of the city. Located on Paris Square—the neighborhood’s central traffic circle—is The Coffee Room. Its small size and unassuming exterior are deceiving. The Coffee Room serves some of the best coffee that Amman has to offer.
Opened in 2016 and serving the United Kingdom’s Artisan Roast Coffee Roasters, The Coffee Room’s menu offers a full selection of espresso-based drinks, along with multiple manual- and cold-brew options. Its cozy size and brick interior oozes warmth and provides a welcoming spot to grab breakfast or a pastry, all of which are made in-house, while you enjoy your morning coffee. In the evening, seating spills onto the sidewalk outside and provides a chance to watch Weibdeh come alive.
The Coffee Lab
Tucked away in the Jabal Amman neighborhood near the French Embassy, The Coffee Lab, which opened in 2018, is a recent addition to the city’s coffee community. The shop is located near Rainbow Street, a popular destination among visitors. However, it is far enough away from Rainbow that it isn’t affected by the area’s congestion and noise, which is particularly bad on weekend evenings. Ample seating also makes it a prime place for work, but in the middle of the day you might be hard pressed to find a spot, as doctors and lawyers from the surrounding neighborhood regularly make The Coffee Lab a destination for lunch and meetings.
The cafe's sleek interior draws inspiration from coffee’s molecular structure, and also includes a tweaked periodic table of the elements that adorns the wall above their couch. The Coffee Lab takes what they do seriously, pairing a full menu of espresso and brewed drinks from illy with a robust food menu. All of their food is made in-house, including multiple pastries, sandwiches, and fresh fruit drinks. The Coffee Lab also sells most of the necessary tools to step up your home-brewing game, which can be hard to come by in Amman.
Dimitri’s Coffee Roasters
Dimitri’s Coffee Roasters has in many ways become the face of specialty coffee in Jordan. Founded by three brothers in 2014, there are currently four locations around Amman, including the newest location on al-Baouneyah Street in the Weibdeh neighborhood. Their locations also include a shop on The Boulevard, a massive pedestrian thoroughfare housed inside Amman’s $5-billion-dollar Abdali mega-development. Dimitri’s was also one of Jordan’s first specialty roasters, using a roaster that was designed by one of the brothers and built by local engineers in Jordan.
The Boulevard location features comfortable seating, including a large communal wood table. The shop also boasts a large outdoor patio area that provides a great spot to people-watch. Dimitri’s offers a number of single-origin roasts and blends that can be ordered on multiple manual brew methods. Their extensive manual brew options couple with their espresso menu, which offers everything from straight espresso to blended drinks. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it at Dimitri's. If you’re not planning on staying, they also offer retail beans and all of the home-brew equipment you could possibly need.
Established in 2017, Melange is another new addition to Amman’s coffee scene. Situated on Fawzi Al Qaweqji Street in the affluent West Amman neighborhood of Abdoun, Melange is located around the corner from another well-known Ammani coffee destination—Kava Roasters. Their close proximity makes it easy to sample multiple shops in a single visit, but if you’re looking for a place to get some work done, Melange is a perfect spot.
When you enter Melange, you are greeted by a high bar and a menu of their daily single-origin offerings from Vienna’s CoffeePirates. In addition to their multiple pour-over offerings, Melange offers a full menu of espresso and cold brew. Melange is somewhat unique among Amman’s cafes, which are often defined by their small interior footprints, because of its comparatively vast seating area. The downstairs includes a collection of tables both inside and outside, as well as stool space at the bar. Upstairs, a large communal table is surrounded with additional seating. Both floors rely heavily on natural wood decor, which makes Melange particularly inviting during Amman’s short, but exceedingly wet, winters.
At the corner of Kulliyat Al-Sharee’ah and Jarir Streets in Weibdeh is one of Amman’s more well-known cafe destinations: Rumi Cafe. Sitting across the street from Patisserie Fayruz, Rumi’s interior is styled with white tile and natural wood elements. Floor-to-ceiling windows encase the shop, opening during warmer months to seamlessly connect Rumi’s interior to its large outdoor patio. Additional seating lines the sidewalk, stretching across the next door in the evenings when the neighboring post office closes its doors for the day. Rumi has become one of Amman’s most popular cafes, particularly among younger residents, artists, designers, and visitors.
Rumi serves illy coffees from early in the morning and late into the night. Their drink menu focuses on espresso-based beverages, cold brew, and an extensive tea selection with limited manual brew options. Rumi also offers house-made sweets and pastries, including a rotating selection of cakes, multiple different sandwiches, and a number of breakfast items. Seating is always pretty tight at Rumi because of how popular it is. That’s especially true on summer evenings when the patio and sidewalk fill up quickly. If you’re not up for a crowd, visiting in the morning means you can usually grab a seat.
William Cotter (@cotterw) is a freelance journalist based in Amman, Jordan. This is William Cotter's first feature for Sprudge.