Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

In case you didn't know, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. One of the coolest traditional events we got to take part in was the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. These happen all over Ethiopia daily. Coffee is a part of life, and we happily embraced it!

Throughout our trip, we had  A LOT of coffee and what was so interesting was each cup tastes a little different, but each cup was the best cup of coffee I had ever tasted! Buddy the Elf would have been screaming at the top of his lungs, "YOU DID IT! WORLD'S BEST CUP OF COFFEE!"

We knew these coffee ceremonies were a big part of culture, but we didn't quite understand it all until we were there. I knew in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, you had three cups of coffee, but I learned that many traditional and especially older people drink three cups, three times a day. Our guide told us her landlady does a coffee ceremony every day, three times a day, and she makes her a cup every morning before she leaves and when she comes home from work.  So almost every day, we had coffee at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The three servings are known as abol, tona, and baraka. But out of all the cups of coffee we consumed while in Ethiopia, I want to share about the most special coffee ceremony we had the privilege of being invited to take part in.

The coffee ceremony is not a quick process. When you are celebrating, you sit down from an hour and a half to two hours. We arrived at Zane's little home, and he was still napping, so the nannies asked us to join in on their coffee ceremony. We soon learned they were celebrating a beautiful young girl who was leaving the home to become a part of her forever family. She was dressed in the traditional white Ethiopian dress; they had a beautiful cake from a local bakery, and popcorn and delicious sugar cookies were on a large flat platter. The popcorn and cookies were passed around by the girl we were celebrating. We have also learned in Ethiopian culture the children serve the adults. In very traditional homes, before the meals, the children bring the water and bowl for the adults to wash their hands (Because Ethiopians eat a lot with their hands and typically share food, hand washing is a regular routine at the tables). She then stood in front of the cake and many of the nannies said a prayer over her. We couldn't understand what they were saying, but it was seriously one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have ever experienced. To see these women who have been taking care of this girl, celebrate her, and pray for her as she starts a new phase of life was just amazing. One nanny would pray, and then everyone else and the girl would say, "Amen" together. They all were beaming with joy and full of smiles and laughter. Once an orphan now part of a family! After the prayers, she then cut her cake. 

During this whole time, the coffee beans were roasting. No Keurigs in Ethiopia! They do it the right way for sure! They use special pots and grind the coffee themselves. No electric grinders.

Once the coffee was ready, we then each were served a small cup. The youngest person typically serves the oldest person first. Different regions and different cultures (There are over 80 different tribes in Ethiopia. All have a unique culture) will add things to their coffee for flavor. At this coffee ceremony, they added honey. It was the sweetest and most delicious coffee I had ever tasted! 

While we were drinking our first cup, our sweet boy woke up from his nap and joined in. They gave him a slice of cake and some cookies. He didn't seem to want any popcorn. 

We continued to drink coffee and take in the beauty of Ethiopian culture and the beauty of the people.

It was such a joyous day! Sitting with the woman who cared for my son when I couldn't, celebrating the sweet girl and her new family, and being with our son and taking part of a tradition that lives on in his culture is something that I will forever remember. 

 *Unfortunately, we can't share all the photos because some of them include other people's children, but here are a few that we could share.

Jeffrey's coffee and cake
Gathering around the coffee
                                                          It's clear that Zane loves cake!


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