When you want to have a drink in Egypt, let’s say with lunch or dinner, you’re going to be spoilt for choice as local Egyptian drinks are rather delicious.
Being a Muslim country, you’re not going to find alcoholic beverages (outside of non-alcoholic beer) on 99% of the menus as these are only sold in specific hotels, so take the opportunity to revel in the most popular drinks (non-alcoholic) the country has to offer.
They are all made from fresh local ingredients and are absolutely delicious, here are all the drinks in Egypt you have to try while you’re there.
Sugar-cane juice is a very popular drink in Egypt and one of the easiest drinks to find in the country. You find it everywhere from cafes to most juice shops and even being sold on the roads by street vendors.
Sugarcane juice is made from sugarcane which is grown in vast quantities in Southern Egypt and the sugarcane is then cut and pressed to make the sugarcane juice. When pressed, the can releases a sugarcane juice which is rather green in color and sweet to taste.
For those of you who worry about the sugar content, don’t be as sugarcane juice is actually known to have many health benefits. It keeps your liver and kidney healthy, improves hydration, and even fights cancer.
As a country, Egypt drinks more sugarcane juice, also known as Aseer Asab and it’s a favorite drink during the summer as it’s a refreshingly cool sweet drink on hot summer days. The great thing about this popular drink is that it’s always served fresh and you can watch the juice being pressed before it ends up in your glass.
If you love fresh fruits and their juices, then you’re going to love Egypt and I’d recommend going to one of the many local juice shops each day so you can try the array of juice on offer. All the juice is made with real fruit only and the fruits are grown in the super fertile lands of the Nile Delta, so they are absolutely scrumptious.
You’ll find drinks like strawberry juice and mango juice as well as more exotic options you might not have tried before. Stewed apricot juice (qamar al-din), hibiscus juice, and tamarind juice are local favorites. Tamarind juice is one of my favorite drinks as it has a bit of a sour taste and it’s also packed full of antioxidants and is therefore very good for you.
The list doesn’t end there though and other juice bar favorites include banana, lemon, and guava juice. You can also ask for a cocktail and try mixing any of the options together to make your own special juice to your taste.
A traditional drink and a winter drink in Egypt, Sahlab goes back thousands of years to the Roman and Ottoman Empire and it’s made from an ingredient you have probably never heard of, the tuber of an orchid.
It is not just any orchid used in the making of Sahlab it’s the tuber of Orchis mascula orchid. The orchid tuber is first dried and then crushed into a kind of powder which is then blended with hot milk and sesame seeds.
Sahlab is always served warm, which is why it’s a winter drink, and it has a kind of thick smoothie-like consistency. You’ll find it being served year-round in Egypt and the best place to look for it is at local coffee shops.
Every coffee shop will serve it differently but it usually comes with a topping that can include chopped dried apricots, chopped pistachios, shredded coconut, walnut, and cinnamon. It’s a delicious drink which is also very filling and one of the Egyptian drinks you have to try.
Egyptian coffee, called Ahwa locally, is made in a Turkish style which, unlike other countries, involves no filtering. Fresh finely ground coffee is mixed with sugar and water in the cup you drink it from and is left to settle before you take a sip from it.
This not only makes the coffee very strong as it absorbs all the flavors from the grounds but it also means you can not stir the coffee once the grounds have settled. Be sure to let the servers at the coffee shops know how sweet you want it and whether to add milk or not before they make it.
Ahwa is served up in very small cups and is made for sipping. It’s traditionally very sweet to combat the bitter taste of the coffee but be sure to ask for the sweetness you desire. It’s quite an intense coffee to have every day and if you’re looking for something a little less strong then ask for Nescafe which means any instant coffee they have.
Hibiscus Tea or Karkadai as it’s called locally is a drink made from combining hot water with buds of a hibiscus flower. It’s one of the Egyptian drinks you have to try and are probably going to want to take a photo of since the tea is bright pink.
Karkadai is an important drink in Egypt’s history too as it is known to have been the favorite drink of the Egyptian Pharaohs and today is used at wedding celebrations to toast the bride and groom.
Hibiscus Tea is drunk all year round as it can be enjoyed hot or served cold on a hot summer day. It’s also an incredibly healthy drink as it’s packed full of Vitamin C and it helps with lowering blood pressure, sugar levels, digestion, and even hypertension.
It’s quite a sweet tea but it’s very drinkable and has a delicious taste overall. When served cold, you can add some sparkling water to the tea to make it less sweet and more hydrating.
Be wary of this tea if you’re using an estrogen-based contraceptive though as it can make it ineffective and you could go home with a baby conceived in Egypt.
One of the most popular drinks and the national drink in Egypt is Tea. Egyptians drink tea like it’s going out of fashion and it doesn’t matter if it’s 1 am in the morning or hotter than the melting sun outside, it’s always tea time in Egyptian Society.
Tea in Egypt is made the same way English tea is made, either by adding loose tea leaves to boiling water or with a teabag. It’s made strong and almost always served hot, black, and sweet with sugar. But you can ask for it without sugar (min ghayr sukar) or with milk (shai bil-haleeb) if you want to.
It’s not just black tea that’s popular in Egypt, you can also find Shai bil-na’na which is a freshly made mint tea or if you’re looking for a healthy tea, helba. Helba is made with Fenugreek seeds and can lower blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels.
Sobia is a particularly popular drink during the holy month of Ramadan and you’ll find it at the dinner table in every Egyptian Household. Also referred to as Sobia Coconut Milkshake, it’s made by blending coconut, milk, rice starch, sugar, and vanilla and is essentially a bit of a coconut smoothie.
Children love these drinks and you can find them all year round in Egypt. The reason these drinks are so popular during the holy month of Ramadan is because Sobia is for giving energy to the faithful – hence why you’ll find it in every Egyptian household.
Sobia is also great to drink after a long hot day as its ingredients are very filling and give you a lot of energy to keep going with. You’ll find Sobia at every juice bar and at most coffee shops in Egypt, and it’s a delicious drink that you simply have to try.
Carob is another very popular thing to drink in Egypt and one that is also used a lot during Ramadan for its health and revitalizing benefits. Carob is also known as Kharoub, named after the local plant it’s made from, Kahrub which belongs to the beans family.
To make the Carob drink, Kahrub is dried and crushed into a powder. The Kahrub powder is then soaked in water for 2 hours and once soaked, the water is boiled. While the water is boiling, sugar is added for a sweet taste and it’s slowly reduced on the hob.
Once it’s ready, the Kahrub is moved to the fridge until it cools and it is then always drunk cold. You might struggle to find a Carob drink while you’re in Egypt if you’re there outside of Ramadan as it’s not often made outside of it. But, with enough searching and asking around, you’ll find someone who is willing to make it or already has a stash somewhere.
The benefits of drinking Kahrub are many and include cholesterol reduction, blood pressure improvement, cancer resistance, and general heart health. You shouldn’t drink much of this while you’re pregnant though as it’s a bit too concentrated.
If you love smoothies then these two are some Egyptian drinks you’re going to want to remember to try while in Egypt. The first, Mowz bil-Laban is pretty much a banana smoothie and is made by blending ripe bananas with ice, water, and either honey or sugar.
Jawafa bil-Laban is also a smoothie and it has pretty much the same ingredients as Mowz bil-Laban except the banana is swapped for guava. You’ll have to strain out the guava seeds after it’s all been in the blender though.
You can find Mowz bil-Laban and Jawafa bil-Laban at every juice bar, restaurant, or cafe in Egypt and you don’t have to limit yourself to banana or guava either. Just ask the establishment what fruit they have in stock and then pick the one you want to be the base of your smoothie – it’s that easy.
This delicious tamarind drink is made the same way as hibiscus tea but it can be made either with fresh tamarind fruit or with tamarind powder, and each one tastes very different. Tamarind drink is made by boiling tamarind fruit or powder in water and adding some sugar for sweetness as it’s quite bitter naturally.
The drink is then left to cool in the fridge and is always drunk cold. You’ll be able to find tamarind drink at any juice bar or cafe and it’s another drink that is traditionally consumed during Ramadan and is usually reserved for after dinner.
Like all the drinks drunk at Ramadan, Tamarind drink is hugely beneficial to one’s health as it has a lot of antioxidants.
I find it quite amazing that without any kind of scientific influence, Muslim culture has created a time for fasting in conjunction with consuming hugely healthy drinks that help boost their bodies. It goes to show that if you can feel something is doing you good, it most certainly is.
Lemonade in Egypt is almost as popular as tea and it’s drunk all year round, hot or cold, depending on the time of year. You’ll find it in every restaurant, juice bar, or coffee shop in Egypt and it’s only ever made with fresh lemons.
Freshly squeezed lemon is added to sugar and water or fizzy water to make this lemonade and sometimes fresh mint is also added to give it a tasty twist. You can also order it with mint syrup for a more intense minty taste if you want to.
The locals call it Lamoon Bel Nana and during winter it’s served hot as a kind of lemon tea and they swear that it stops them from getting any coughs or cases of flu through the colder months.
As you can see, the drinks in Egypt are pretty wild and wonderful and there are some you won’t find anywhere else in the world. They taste pretty amazing and the fact they are super healthy is a massive bonus too.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.