October 30, 2005
Wherever coffee or tea are drank, they lend themselves to rituals, big or small.
For tea, the definitive ritual is probably the Japanese tea ceremony. For coffee, we need look no further than the birthplace of the bean, where the coffee ceremony is an essential part of Ethiopian culture.
Epicurean has a great article describing the Ethiopian coffee ceremony…
The lady who is conducting the ceremony gently washes a handful of coffee beans on the heated pan, then stirs and shakes the husks away. When the coffee beans have turned black and shining and the aromatic oil is coaxed out of them, they are ground by a pestle and a long handled mortar. The ground coffee is slowly stirred into the black clay coffee pot locally known as ‘jebena’, which is round at the bottom with a straw lid.
It all sounds wonderful, actually; I’m a big fan of several of the Ethiopian coffees (particularly Harar), and it’d be great sometime to be able to enjoy it prepared and presented in the traditional fashion.