Kaffa Coffee and Wine Bar Presents: The Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

The coffee ceremony is an integral part of social and cultural life in Ethiopia. An invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship and respect. At Kaffa Coffee and Wine Bar, it is an example of Ethiopian hospitality. Performing the ceremony is almost obligatory in the presence of a visitor, whatever the time of day.  Kaffa Coffee offers the Ceremony upon request, and pre arranged for large Groups.



Ethiopian reverence to coffee is sometimes ornate and ceremonial. There are many variations based upon region or ethnicity, but this article will go over the processes used by Kaffa Coffee and Wine Bar.  The coffee ceremony is set up on a "rekbot" - shelf-like box furniture that serves as the staging platform for the coffee making.  The ceremony host is usually a woman, dressed in the traditional Ethiopian white cotton garments.  The coffee beans roast in a flat pan over a tiny stove.  The rich coffee smell mingles with aroma of herbs that also burn during the ceremony.  The host gently washes a handful of coffee beans on the heated pan, then stirs and shakes the husks away.  When the coffee beans have turned black, shining, and the oil is removed, the beans can be passed around the room for people to smell, and then are ground by hand.



The host then mixes the ground coffee with spices (optional at Kaffa Coffee) and pours it into a clay pot known as "jebena".  This device is both beautiful and functional.  The Jebena structure allows the hand grinds to settle while brewing. During pouring, the lip of the jebena strains the grounds in the pot. The host serves the coffee in tiny cups called “cini.”  The more advanced ceremonies pour a thin stream of coffee into each little cup from a height of one foot.  This ceremony method requires years of practice.

The coffee (Bunna) is taken with plenty of sugar (or in some regions, and upon request, salt). Milk, or other liquids, are not introduced.  In most parts of Ethiopia, the coffee ceremony takes place three times a day: morning, noon and in evening.  It is the main social event within a gathering – time to discuss community, politics, and life in general.  There are traditionally three rounds of drinking: ‘Abol’ (first round), ‘Tona’ (second round), and ‘Baraka’ (third round).  If you are lucky, a transformation of the spirit occurs.



More information can be found on our pInterest board: Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.  Editorial note, this post and the Board were inspired by a patron that really enjoys the Coffee Ceremony.


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Published 8/8/2015

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