The Amazing Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony that Lasted Generations

As the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopians have been drinking coffee (or Buna as it is known in the official language of the country – Amharic) for centuries. It is no wonder then, that they have developed a unique and very social coffee ceremony that is truly Ethiopian. In this short article, we will learn a little about the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony as it is practiced in the country everyday.

The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

The whole process of the preparation and serving of Buna in Ethiopia is a unique and elaborate social affair. A typical traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony will take up to half an hour and starts with roasting of raw green coffee beans right in front of the guests by a host who is always a woman.

In most homes, a dedicated coffee area is kept surrounded by fresh-picked grass and specialized traditional coffee furniture specifically for this occasion. Most households, both in cities and rural areas take the Ethiopian coffee ceremony very seriously and setting up a dedicated place for the occasion is of paramount importance.

When the beans are roasted, the host will bring the pan around to all the guests so that they can enjoy the aroma. Around this time, the host will light some frankincense to balance the strong coffee aroma and clear the air. This gives out an intoxicating scent which also serves as an invitation to people to gather, prepare to drink some amazing coffee and take part in the social chatter and idle conversations.

While the guests are waiting, Fendisha, or popcorn in Amharic, is usually served as a snack. Other snacks such as Kolo, which is toasted barley are also commonly served.

The roasted beans are then ground using a traditional tool known as Mukecha.

Clean water that will be used to make the coffee is boiled using a traditional coffee pot known as jebena. The boiled water and freshly ground coffee beans are then mixed together in the jebena. When the coffee is ready, the host will pour it gracefully into small, handle-less cups known as Sini.

Buna is usually served with sugar, but in many parts of Ethiopia, it is common to see it being served with salt, honey, or even niter kibbeh instead of sugar.

Traditionally, a full coffee ceremony involves three rounds of coffee that proceed from strong (Abol) to medium (Tona) to weak (Baraka), with the final round considered as bestowing a blessing on the coffee drinker.

As part of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, it is quite customary to serve snacks like Kolo and Fendisha (Popcorn). To learn more about Ethiopian Snacks go here.