More than any part of the world, coffee is part of a deeply-rooted culture in Ethiopia. It is a way of life for Ethiopians which they wouldn’t trade for anything! Over the last two centuries, Ethiopians have established themselves as Africa’s heaviest consumers of coffee. They consume half of the coffee they produce and export the rest.
With this culture is the revered traditional coffee ceremonies called jebena buna which have withstood the test of time in every way, shape and form. The traditional coffee ceremony is unique with servings of slow and strong cups of coffee denoting its significance and as a stamp to Ethiopia’s heritage.
The ceremony kicks off with the spreading of fresh grass and flowers on the floor and table and an incense burner with sandalwood or frankincense is lit by the host, usually a woman. The aroma has an intoxicating effect.
Raw coffee beans and then washed and roasted over a charcoal fire until they are charred and then they are ground with a pestle and mortar. The powder is added into a spouted pot with boiling water known as jebena and placed over charcoal fire to brew. Once ready the host pours it into special but small cups without handles.
The coffee is bitter and thick but fantastic! Some add sugar while others, especially from the rural areas add butter and salt or traditional herbs to give it a unique taste. The beans are brewed for a second time with a slight refill of water and served. The beans are brewed for the third time with another top-up of water.
The cultural element of this ceremony means that the three servings signify blessings through the third serving. The ceremony is also seen as a way of hospitality, reconnection and socializing.