Ethiopian coffee ceremony

This is the most original coffee preparation worldwide: the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. It is an essential component of social and cultural life in the country. The relationship between the Ethiopians and their coffee is deeply ingrained in the Ethiopian history, culture and economy. All over the years coffee has been harvested, processed and consumed.

Moreover an invitation for a coffee ceremony is a symbol of friendship or respect and a special example of Ethiopian hospitality.  In honor of a visitor the ceremony is almost obligatory regardless of which daytime. However, you need to bring much time – the ceremony may take hours. Basically the ceremony is presented by a woman wrapped in the traditional white garment with colourfully woven borders. She begins with setting up the devices on a carpet composed of long smelling blades of grass. In a flat pan the coffee beans are gently roasted over a small charcoal fire during the cooking process, and in this a strong roast smell is mixed up with the stimulating odour of incenses that burn up. By steadily moving and abruptly shaking the heated pan the tiny membranes are separated from the beans.

When the coffee beans have become shiny black and release their ethereal oil, they are ground with a pistil in a long-stemmed mortar. Then the coffee grounds are carefully stirred in the black clay coffee pot. This pot, the so-called ”jebena”, has a spherically-shaped body and stands in a ring of straw. Due to the ancient procedure of preparation the Ethiopian manually ground coffee is anything but uniformly fine

Therefore the coffee is poured through a sieve several times, before it is served in small porcelain dishes to the family, friends, neighbours, which means all who have waited for this moment and have followed the ceremony during the last half an hour. In this the coffee is elegantly poured into the provided dishes without interruption in a thin golden stream from a height of about 30 cm, which requires years of training. The coffee is drunken with much sugar (or with a pinch of salt in the countryside), however, always without milk. In this its aroma and the extremely skillful preparation is enthusiastically praised. In many regions in Ethiopia the coffee ceremony takes place three times a day. In the villages this is still the most important social event.  
As a consequence the value of this cultural, historical and religious perspective, which is related to coffee, needs to be completely comprehended. If you are invited to attend a coffee ceremony in a house, bear in mind that it would be impolite to reject or withdraw before you have drunken at least three dishes of coffee, because only the third round is to bring blessing to the house.

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