Posted in Kafevend Blog
As promised last week, we return today to the well established coffee culture of Ethiopia and its intricate coffee ceremony in particular. This long held tradition takes place up to three times a day and is administered by the woman of the house or by a daughter old enough to be well versed in the ritual.
Before the processing of the raw green beans even begins, the room is prepared; aromatic grasses are arranged on the floor and the equipment that will be used placed on top. Incense is lit and the jebena, a round bottomed coffee pot, is filled with water ready to be heated. The beans are washed, then stirred in a pan on a charcoal or wood stove and the husks shaken off. Next they are roasted, either to a medium brown or until they're a shiny black. A mukecha and zenezena, rather like a pestle and mortar, are used to grind the beans, which are then stirred into the jebena, brought to the boil, decanted and cooled a little and the process repeated twice more.
The coffee is poured from a height in a single stream into small cups without handles. It's served with plenty of sugar, but no milk. The youngest child present is often given the task of presenting the first cup to the oldest guest and then the hostess distributes the rest. Custom requires everyone to have at least three cupfuls; these three rounds of coffee are named abol, tona and baraka and are considered to bestow a blessing on the drinker. In addition to this spiritual dimension, the coffee ceremony, as the main social event of the community, provides ample time for discussion and exchange of news. What a stark contrast to the hastily swigged espresso.