K Kat

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Jan 17, 2009 · coffee · ethiopia · Legacy
Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

It would make sense that the purported origin of coffee would proffer an elegant and traditional ceremony that highlights the importance and appreciation of this little bean. Taking you from green bean to brew, the Ethopian Coffee Ceremony begins with freshly roasting beans before your eyes and ends with the sipping of a rich, delicious cup of joe -- or three. We found a great description of the ceremony, which covers both how you might experience it in a restaurant versus a traditional ceremony at home. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is very important in the Ethiopian culture. The coffee ceremony will be performed when friends visit, during celebrations, or simply as a part of the daily routine. It is so important to how the Ethiopians view coffee that most Ethiopian restaurants will have the coffee ceremony performed for you at your table. The Ethiopian coffee ritual takes the participants through the entire coffee preparation process. Whether you are witnessing the ritual in a restaurant or lucky enough to participate in someone's home, the green coffee beans will be brought to your table by a woman. She will wash the beans, and then start a fire in a small open roasting furnace. The washed beans will be put into a small pan with a long handle and held over the fire. The woman preparing the beans will shake the pan back and forth, like an old-fashioned popcorn maker. This keeps the bean from burning. Some people have described the sound of the shaking beans as similar to shaking coins in a tin can. Once the beans are roasted, the preparer takes the pan and walks around the room, filling the room with the enticing aroma of freshly roasted coffee. Experiencing the sounds and smells is an important part of the ritual. The next step in the Ethiopian coffee ceremony is to grind the freshly roasted beans. In restaurants, they may use an electric grinder to speed up the process. Traditionally, the beans will be ground in a small tool called a mukecha (pronounced moo-key-cha). The mukecha is a very heavy wooden bowl. The beans are poured inside, and then crushed with a zenezena, which is a wooden or metal stick that is used in an up and down motion, rather like a mortar and pestle. The ground coffee is then put into a traditional clay pot called a jebena (pronounced jay-ben-ah). Water is added, and then the pot is put over heat until the coffee boils. The scent of the boiling coffee again fills the room, tempting the senses of all the participants of the ritual. Coffee prepared in the Ethiopian coffee ritual is then served in small ceramic cups resembling the small cups you see in Chinese restaurants for tea. The cups are arranged on a tray very close together, and the coffee is poured from one cup to another in a single pour from the pot. This is a very important step, even if some sloshes onto the tray. If the server poured each cup individually, the coffee grounds would get mixed up with the liquid, resulting in gritty coffee. With the single pour method, the coffee remains free of the sediment. Once you've taken your first sip, you've witnessed the full life-cycle of making coffee, from washing the raw beans, through roasting, grinding, and boiling the coffee. If you're in a restaurant, the ceremony usually ends here. Traditionally, second and third servings are often prepared as well. Each serving has its own name: the first serving is called Abol, the second serving is called Huletegna, and the third serving is called Bereka. Once you've reached this stage, you have completed the Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Link to share

Use this link to share this article