A coffee ceremony is an elaborate coffee preparation and drinking ritual in some parts of the world.
For most of us, drinking coffee is second nature. It may signal the start of the day or indicate a necessary energy booster as the day progresses.
It may be a 'cuppa on the go' on weekdays, while weekends may be reserved for more relaxed coffee sipping and conversing with friends at your favorite café.
While all these situations involve drinking coffee, they cannot be called coffee rituals by any stretch of the imagination.
What is a Coffee Ceremony?
A Coffee Ceremony is a ritualized form of preparing and drinking coffee.
Turkish, Eritrean, and Ethiopian cultures boast elaborate rituals passed down from generations and almost represent a legacy.
While the actual processes in these ceremonies differ, their common feature is an unhurried approach. The pace is relaxed, and it is more of an opportunity for friends and family to spend time together.
Sounds like a café, you think? But unlike a café, the focus here is more on the coffee itself than the conversation.
Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
The coffee ritual in Ethiopia is one of their cultural highlights and is a long, drawn-out process lasting at least a couple of hours.
Being invited to such an event signifies that the host holds you in high esteem.
The tradition begins by roasting the fresh green coffee beans over a charcoal stove on a flat pan. This gives out an intense aroma of the coffee, and it is part of the ceremony for each member to inhale this aromatic scent.
On turning black, the coffee beans are ground using a wooden pestle and mortar. Brewing this coffee ground into the beverage using a specialized apparatus is the crux of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
This apparatus, equipped with a handle called the jebena, is a clay pot with a spherical base, a long neck, and a spout for pouring out the coffee.
The coffee seeds are boiled three times, and in each case, the resultant brew is filtered through a sieve of horsehair built into the jebena spout to prevent loss of the coffee ground.
Now for the concluding part, the coffee is poured from the jebena directly into handle-less clay cups continuously in a motion that requires years of practice for perfection.
The elders in the gathering are served coffee first, followed by others.
If you have the honor of being part of an Ethiopian coffee tradition, bear in mind that it is considered impolite to retire before at least 3 cups.