Coffee Cultures Around the World: Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, the traditional ritual begins with green coffee beans.
While coffee is a universal beverage that is appreciated around the world, diverse cultures brew their coffees differently. Here is a look at how coffee is prepared and enjoyed in Ethiopia – the birthplace of coffee.
In Ethiopia, drinking coffee (known as buna) involves an elaborate traditional ceremony called jebena buna. The ceremony lasts up to three hours and can occur a few times in a day. Before the start of each ceremony, fresh flowers and grass are spread on the floor. Incense is lit, filling the air with fragrance.
Green coffee beans are roasted over hot coals then coarsely ground by hand in a mortar and pestle. The coffee and water are first mixed, then brewed in a clay coffee pot called a jebena. The brewed coffee is poured into a tray of small handle-less cups called finjan.
In the ceremony, three rounds of coffee are served. The first cup, arbol, is the strongest brew, while the second cup is called tona. The third cup, bereka, is known as the “one of the road”.
How it is enjoyed
The resulting coffee is dark and bitter. It is often sweetened with sugar, or flavoured with butter or salt. Ethiopians enjoy their buna with company. Drinking coffee together is an act of hospitality, whether it is to welcome acquaintances or to reconnect with friends.
In Ethiopia, coffee is often served with a side of plain popcorn.
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