RIYADH: A Saudi Arabian tea maker known for its experimental concoctions has turned over a new leaf – a movie star.
Raised in a farming community in the village of Jarootiyah in the Eastern Province’s Qatif governorate, Zafar al-Jarooudi became the subject of a short film after discovering his talent while serving drinks at a Saudi film festival.
He first discovered his gift for making tea during a trip to Iraq in 2003 and began mixing local herbs to create popular blends including traditional black lemon, Iraqi-style red and cinnamon teas. He specializes in brewing Saudi coffee.
After years at events such as festivals and weddings, Al-Jarudi was approached by friend Samar Albayet to showcase his drinks at the third edition of the 2016 Film Festival.
Albayat said: „Jaffer is an exceptional man, he treats everyone with so much love and happiness, that’s the best part about him. But he also makes great tea and coffee.
It can be said that every cup he makes is made with love. He puts his soul into his creations.
“You can tell every cup he makes is made with love. He told me that whenever he makes lumi (black lemon) tea, he carefully stirs it. He puts his soul into his creations.
Al-Jarouti said: “That was the beginning of me attending festivals. I made sure to pack a nice snack like a Saudi coffee with a side of dates harvested from our date tree.
While serving actors and guests at the eighth edition of the film festival, Saudi author and novelist Saad Al-Dosari praised the tea-making skills.
„Saad said to me, 'By the time the ninth edition of the Saudi Film Festival comes around, there should be a film about you,'” Al-Jarouti added.
The following year, „The Night Maker” was screened at the Braira Al-Azizia Resort on the last day of the festival. The film, directed by Mohammed Al-Faraj, documents Al-Jarouti’s story and includes his son Khalil as part of the cast.
Al-Faraj said: „I love the energy and atmosphere that Jafar brings to the festival. What he does is so creative. He’s like an alchemist using sugar, tea, water and fire. I thought it would be great to make a short film about that.”
„Video is also what he does, putting things together and editing to create the final result.”
Al-Jarouti received the Golden Palm Award from the Film Festival Committee.
He said: „When I received the award, my heart skipped a beat. Every year, I save the badge or card given to me by the festival to remind me of those beautiful moments. I still have the invitation and badge that was given to me in 2016.
“The first scene of the film brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t have done it without my wife, daughter and son.
“The headspace I enter when I brew a cup of tea is ethereal. I feel great joy when I make a kettle of tea. Since moving to Iraq in 2003, I’ve never made a cup of tea on the fly, and I’ve always made one with joy and complete honesty.
“When making tea, I stick to what I know and what is known in my culture. One thing I can never give up is simplicity. I use ingredients that I like – and I’m good at brewing – these are herbal drinks from the Qatifi culture,” added Al-Jarodi.
. „Gracz. Namiętny pionier w mediach społecznościowych. Wielokrotnie nagradzany miłośnik muzyki. Rozrabiacz”.