The minute you arrive at the coffee paradise of Ethiopia (its birthplace), and where its ceremoniously honored, first you are going to be welcomed by its revitalizing aroma as if it is the scent of the Addis Ababa City or Ethiopia.
Drawing the smoke with your hand towards you and inhaling it- when the host brings the pan with the roasted coffee beans to give all the pleasure of smelling: is one of the etiquette that you need to be aware of, as the respected guest in this highly regarded Ethiopian coffee ceremony. And this is when enjoying the world-class coffee officially starts in Ethiopia or Addis Ababa.
Making coffee in Ethiopia has its own eloquent pieces and has got creatively set traditional rituals that illustrates- having coffee is much more than mindless intake or just using it for stimulation: rather it is an acquired art form of, basking in pleasure that requires commitment, patience and appreciation.
Freshly cut green grass, charcoal brazier, handle-less little china coffee cups, Ethiopians very own traditional clay coffee Pot called ‘Jebena’, and small clay stove to burn incense are the main tools for Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
Drinking coffee in Ethiopia is a moment of lingering over coffee, getting together, and chat with family, loved ones and friends. It is giving the household and even the neighborhood an inviting and warm Ethiopian aura.
It is not something we Ethiopians do only for holidays or special occasions. Since even it is an everyday practice for many, you cannot help feeling the aura or smell the scent of this world-class coffee coming out of almost every household at every neighborhood of Addis Ababa, especially at the weekends.
After the coffee is roasted usually at your presence, while you are surrounded by the smoke and enjoying the aroma, its going to be grounded outside with the traditional coffee grinder when all you hear is the sound of pounding. Then the grinds added to the heating water of the coffee pot (Jebena) and brings all to a boil.
It is one of those moments in life to realize how powerful scent can be in captivating our moods. The combination scents of the fresh popcorn (the usual coffee snack in Ethiopia), the coffee and the burning incense is so exotic and makes you feel relaxed and usually make many foreigners to immediately feel comfortable somewhere in Ethiopia just like they are in their own home.
Drinking coffee In Ethiopia is a three-round affair. So when the coffee is ready you are going to be presented the first round full-bodied coffee which is called ‘Abol’ accompanied with popcorn. Now its time to appreciate your sense of touch by feeling the warmth of the coffee through the handle-less little cup and of course your sense of test with the world- class homemade Ethiopian coffee.
After you have your first cup of coffee the host collect the cups and brew the same grinds of coffee by adding more water in the Jebena and brings you the second round and the third.
Well, I think you can imagine what its like having coffee in cafes or coffee made with espresso machine even if it is really good for the people who are accustomed having coffee in this special way which is so close to our heart. And that is one of the reasons why many Ethiopians including me choose to have traditional coffee made with Jebena. Luckily these days Addis Ababa is bringing out this everyday household practice of Ethiopia out in public with all its eloquent pieces for everyone to enjoy Ethiopian coffee in the very best way we know how.
Of course there are many reputable cafes in Addis Ababa that have been and still serving best coffee in the most modern, luxurious and some with Ethiopian touch. Besides its good to to have this world- class coffee with dash of milk (Macchiato) or Cappuccino or with different kinds of flavor and that’s when having these cafes in Addis Ababa can be so awesome.
There are many traditional restaurants too in Addis Abbab, that serves Ethiopian coffee in the most creative and traditional way.
But if you want just simple “pick- me- up” traditional coffee somewhere around the corner of Addis Ababa City, no worries because many ordinary little traditional coffee shops are opening up everyday at every neighborhood and serve you with the extraordinary coffee at the price of 5 birr for one cup of coffee with your own little Jebena which I think is so cute.
You can also spot women and girls making traditional Ethiopian coffee at the malls, business centers and even at the corner of the streets of Addis to make a living and making it so accessible for everyone to enjoy best coffee wherever they may be in the city of Addis Ababa as it suppose to be.
‘Buna’ is the word of Coffee in Amharic and ‘Nu Buna Tetu’ is how we Ethiopian say it to invite you to our home…
So that you can sit down and to really enjoy sipping and savoring freshly grounded homemade cup of coffee and Life!