The Ethiopian coffee ceremony , Uniquely Ethiopian Culture
The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is one of the most enjoyable events for visitors and the Ethiopian people themselves. The coffee is taken through its full life cycle of preparation in front of guests and family. Coffee ceremony is an integral part of social and cultural life of all Ethiopians.
The Ethiopian homage to coffee is usually beautiful and ceremonial. The ceremony more often is conducted by a woman usually dressed in the traditional Ethiopian costume of a white dress.
The long involved process starts with the ceremonial apparatus being arranged upon a bed of long scented grasses. The roasting of the beans is done in a flat pan over a tiny charcoal stove, the pungent smell mingling with the heady scent of incense that is always burned during the ceremony.
At this time most of one’s senses are being involved in the ceremony, the woman will be shaking the roasting pan back and forth so the beans won’t burn, the coffee beans start to pop sounding like popcorn. The most memorable stage of the ceremony is when the lady takes the roasted coffee and walks with it around the room so the smell of freshly roasted coffee fills the air.
When the coffee beans have turned black and shining and the aromatic oil is coaxed out of them, they are ground with a pestle and a long handled mortar. The ground coffee is slowly stirred into the black clay coffee pot locally known as jebena, which is round at the bottom with a straw lid.
Due to the archaic method used by Ethiopians, the ground result can be called anything but even, so the coffee is strained through a fine sieve several times.
Coffee is taken with plenty of sugar (or in the countryside, salt) but no milk and is generally accompanied by lavish praise for its flavor and skilful preparation. Often it is complemented by a traditional snack food, such as popcorn, peanuts or cooked barley.
In most parts of Ethiopia, the coffee ceremony takes place three times a day- in the morning, at noon and the evening. It is the main social event within the village and a time to discuss the community, politics, and life and about whom and about who did what with whom.
If invited into a home to take part, remember –it is impolite to retire until you have consumed at least three cups, as the third round is considered to bestow a blessing. Transformation of the sprit is said to take place during the coffee ceremony through the completion of Abol (the first round).
And Ethiopia, after all is the birth place of the been while variety of worlds premium coffee beans are growing in different parts of the country.
Just the growing and picking process of coffee involves over 12 million Ethiopians and produces over two-thirds of the country’s earnings. The best Ethiopian coffee may be compared with the finest coffee in the world, and premium washed Arabica beans fetch some of the highest prices on the world market.