Coffee Ceremony

Coffee Ceremony

Coffee Ceremony at a lodge

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Coffee is first identified in an Ethiopian region then called, kaffa. This area is still one of the coffee growing parts of the country.

Ethiopia stands at 69 in 'List of countries by coffee consumption per capita' on Wikipedia. Coffee is heavily consumed in a traditional way among Ethiopians. Preparation of the coffee beans and the ceremony might have a slight variation in different parts of the country though.

Spreading freshly cut grass on the floor sets the scene for the coffee ceremony. Traditionally, for any special occasion, scented grass will be strewn directly on the floors of houses.

People take their seats around the carpet of grass and the necessary utensils for the ceremony. The lady making the coffee will sit in the centre on a stool and be dressed in a white Ethiopian dress with coloured, woven, decorative borders.

The ceremony is commonly started by roasting the coffee beans until the beans turn dark brown. After the beans are roasted, the coffee beans will be brought to invited guests to give them a closer breath of the aroma from the roasting pan. This custom is optional.

Then, the coffee beans will be pounded to finest powder. The powder will be put in to boiling water in a special local coffee pot called 'Jebena', which is made from clay. Coffee will be ready to serve when stem starts to come out of the nozzle with attractive flavor. Then after the 'Jebena' will be placed for about three minutes before starting to pour into cups. This process is to let the powder settle at the bottom. Coffee is now ready to be served in small cups.


Jebena - coffee pot

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In Ethiopia, coffee is served in three rounds on a single coffee ceremony. The first round is called 'Abole'. After the first round or 'Abole' is served, the second round is prepared by pouring required amount of water in the same ‘Jebena’ and to boil it again. Obviously, this gives a less concentrated coffee than 'Abol'. This will be served as second round. This round is called "Tona" or "Huletegna". Finally, the third round is prepared similarly by pouring required amount of water as done for the second round. This time, the coffee will be much softer. This round could be served to children as well. The final round is called "Bereka" or "Sostegna".

The following are the sweetening or spices that could also be served with coffee cups: sugar, salt, butter and 'tena adam leaves'.

There are certain things that add color to the ceremony: "Yebuna Kuris" a small dish to share while having coffee. There could also be popcorn. "Ketema" grass is put on the floor under the coffee chair and around, when possible.

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