Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony – Part 1

On a recent visit to Ethiopia, I was treated to an authentic Ethiopian Coffee ceremony, in the village of Alhamer. According to legend, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and whether that is true or not, the Ethiopians certainly celebrate coffee as part of their daily ritual, as witnessed by this elaborate ceremony. Women will perform this ceremony for guests or visitors to their homes, in this instance a thatched hut in a small village.

Often though they will also make coffee for friends or family as well using the same steps and equipment. Green coffee beans are washed, and then roasted in a skillet over an open fire. The fire is made with a charcoal fuel and the smoke is flavored with incense. The roasting process is very aromatic, and the beans will make popping sounds as they go from green to light brown and eventually to a rich, dark brown in color.

After the beans are roasted, they are placed into a wooden bowl and ground with a hammer. This is a very physical activity, which takes some practice, as I’ve seen western tourists attempt the chore without much success.

Tomorrow I’ll post the 2nd half of this series of photos, where the coffee is brewed and served. So stay tuned!