Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony - A Photo Essay

Step 1 - prepare
Step 2 - roast
Step 3 - boil water
Step 4 - grind
Step 5 - scoop
Step 6 - pour
Step 7 - savour
- do all this while burning frankincense on a separate burner (can be seen on the bottom left of the picture below - unfortunately I neglected to take a separate picture)
- generally, a snack like popcorn, nuts or roasted barley is served along with the coffee
- the third cup is considered the luckiest
- fortunately for a non-coffee-drinker such as myself, it's quite acceptable (and even expected) to drink it with lots of sugar
- for some reason (though I never managed to get an explanation as to its significance) there is generally dried grass spread out on the floor or ground where the coffee ceremony takes place. Even the airport coffee shop had grass on the floor.

When you first arrive in Ethiopia, and you tell someone about the things you hope to experience while you're there, if you mention a coffee ceremony, someone will probably look at you a little funny and say "well of COURSE you'll experience a coffee ceremony." It's not something that is out-of-the-ordinary and only done for special occasions. It's done every day. It is their time of connecting with community and family. It's when they catch up on the news of the day with those they care about.

My favourite coffee ceremony moment was fairly late one night, after a very full day, sitting on mats under the star-lit sky, listening to the quiet cacophony of a village going to sleep, and watching the fire glow under the coffee beans. It was too dark for pictures, but I have the memories.


Karmyn R said...

What a great way to reconnect with people at the end of the day - looks very neat! So many cultures have ceremonial tea for special occasions. I want to start one!

Hope said...

I interviewed bobita and she described her very own coffee ceremon on her last post.
What a wonderful tradition.

So... how do they sleep with all that coffee before bed.......;)

Lucia said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

I'm not a coffee drinker either, but not having coffee in Ethiopia is unthinkable. So I doctored it up and felt, well, alert a lot of the time.

Ahhhh...thank you. I enjoyed that.

karla said...

The coffee I am drinking this very moment has suddenly lost it's appeal. I would love to experience a ceremony like that.

Linda said...

You actually look like you might be enjoying that cup!

Anvilcloud said...

Sounds and looks like a neat experience. I didn't start drinking coffee until this decade (both calendar and mine — less than seven years ago, in fact. I started with triple-triples and have settled in at/with double cream. I still usually have only one a day, however.

Gina said...

That looks just lovely.

Grass must symbolize something, I wonder what it could be.

Lucia said...

I came back. To experience this coffee ceremony. One more time.

Pamela said...

I would much prefer this to st*rb*cks

Joyce said...

Yes, my sisters also speak of this ceremony with fondness.

The Passarelli's said...

That seems like a very nice way to relax and enjoy each others stories.
Wouldn't it be a nice way to start the day also.

marnie said...

I was trying to reduce my coffee intake, but that post has me twitching...