Top 10 Authentic Ethiopian Drinks

There are several uniquely Ethiopian Drinks that one should try to experience, whether you have the chance to visit Ethiopia or you are in some other country and happen to find an Ethiopian Restaurant in your locale.

Traditional Alcoholic Ethiopian Drinks

There are several traditional alcoholic drinks that are customarily homemade by using natural ingredients. Here is a list of the most popular and wildly consumed traditional alcoholic beverages in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Drink #1: Tej

Tej, is a potent honey wine or mead that is brewed and widely consumed in much of Ethiopia. It is prepared from honey and a green herb called Gesho, a very important additive in almost all of the alcoholic drinks of Ethiopia. Tej comes in varying degrees of sweetness that deceptively masks the high alcohol content of the drink. It is typically served in a rounded vase-like or beaker-like glass container called a Berele, but if you are new to the drink one Berele maybe too much.

Just like any other wine, Tej can be stored for a long time; and longer it is stored, the higher the alcohol content, and the stronger the taste.

Ethiopian Drink #2: Tella

Tella is another popular alcoholic drink in Ethiopia. It is a traditional home-brewed beer that is brewed from various grains, usually Teff barley, maize and sorghum blended Gesho. A traditional Ethiopian beer made from Teff, barley, maize or other grains blended with a green herb called GeshoTella is usually brewed at home. You’ll often find it in grimy, nondescript plastic bottles lurking in the doorways of local homes. Alcohol concentrations vary widely.

Ethiopian Drink #3: Araki

Areki, also known as Katikala, is probably the strongest alcoholic beverage in Ethiopia. It’s made from Gesho leaves and features an alcohol level of around 45%. Araki is essentially the Ethiopian version of moonshine.

Ethiopian Drink #4: Ethiopian Beer

Beer is also an important part of Ethiopian social life, especially in urban areas. Some popular brands of beer in Ethiopia are St George, Harar, Meta, Habesha, Bedele, Castel, Walia, Dankira, and Dashen.

Ethiopian Drink #5: Ethiopian Wine

Although Ethiopia is not well known for wine, and apart from Tej, the traditional honey wine, there has recently been a surge in the consumption of wine in Ethiopia, especially in the major cities such as the capital, Addis Ababa. Some of the better-known brands of wine in Ethiopia are Awash, Gebeta, Axumit, and Castel.

Traditional Non-Alcoholic Ethiopian Drinks

Ethiopia is also home to various traditional non-alcoholic drinks that are made from natural and healthy ingredients. Here are a few of the well-known non-alcoholic drinks.

Ethiopian Drink #6: Kenetto

Kenetto, also known as Keribo, is a non-alcoholic traditional drink that is typically used as substitute for Tella by those who don’t drink alcohol.

Ethiopian Drink #7: Borde

Borde is a cereal-based traditional fermented beverage famous in the southern parts of Ethiopia.

Non-Alcoholic Brews / Hot Ethiopian Drinks

Ethiopian Drink #8: Buna

Ethiopian Drinks - Coffee
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Buna is Amharic for coffee, and if you are a coffee lover, you should probably know that coffee originated from Ethiopia. Buna is a revered drink in Ethiopia that is an integral part of social life in the country. It is also very important to the Ethiopian economy as it is a major source of foreign exchange and a source of income to around 15% of the population.

Learn more about the origins of Coffee here.

You can also learn more about the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony here.

Ethiopian Drink #9: Shai

Shai is Amharic for tea, and is the second most preferred hot drink in Ethiopia next to Buna. It is also quite popular among the Muslim communities in the lowlands of Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Drink #10: Atmit

Atmit is a mostly used as comfort drink for mothers with newly born babies and, sometimes people with the flu. However, some people who enjoy the taste and smooth texture of the drink also enjoy it ones in a while. Atmit is made out of barley and oat-flour mixed with water, sugar and Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian clarified butter), cooked until it reaches a slightly thick consistency.