One of My Favorite Wines, Tej

My sister introduced me to Tequilla Rose while visiting Las Vegas.  I told her to skip it, since I hate the taste of Tequilla.  She chirped that it didn't taste like Tequilla, and she was indeed correct (tasted like Strawberry Creme Liquor).

My favorite bottle of Wine at Kaffa Coffee and Wine Bar is Tej.  An organic Ethiopian Wine made in the US, a LITTLE spendy.  However, the taste is not like wine, but a honey liquor.  And as you read on, the drink is well worth the price.

We don't know when Ethiopians decided to mix honey with water and then add ferment with gesho, a species of buckthorn (hops) that grows native only in Africa. As early as 300 AD, it was regaled to Royalty and Upper Class. Tej now is considered the national drink, and has the taste to indulge.  Anyone may partake of this beverage.


Sometimes you'll see Tej referred to as "ye'mar tej," where "mar" is the Ethiopian word for "honey" and "ye" means "with" or "of." Thus "ye'mar tej" is "Ethiopian honey wine made with honey." Why the redundancy? Because you can also make "ye'buna tej," which is Ethiopian honey wine flavored with coffee (buna), or you can make "ye'birtukan tej" (flavored with orange), or "ye'zinjibil tej" (flavored with ginger), or "ye'muz tej" (flavored with banana), and with numerous other flavors (including jalepeno peppers). "Ye'mar tej" simply tells you that the only flavoring, apart from the requisite gesho, is honey

At Kaffa Coffee, we serve a Natural Tej blend, at 12% alcohol (Tej is known for a higher concentration of alcohol, so a bottle lasts awhile).  Our Tej is produced by Enat Winery in Oakland, CA.  There are no sulfites, all natural, enjoy the honey flavor.  Personally, I have a small glass, or even some in a shot glass.

Our Tej is $25 for a bottle, $7 by the glass price.  When you drink your Tej, add the Ethiopian toast: Letenachin. “To our health.”

Published 6/14/15

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