Notes from origin trips: Ethiopian coffee ceremony

The coffee ceremony plays a big role in Ethiopian culture. It's considered to be the most important social occasion in many villages - and it is a sign of respect and friendship to be invited to one. 

During our sourcing trip to Ethiopia, we got to experience it first hand. It's quite a humbling and mesmerising act to watch how the host goes through all the steps. On most days, visiting farms in the Yirgacheffe and Guji region, we've been welcomed by freshly brewed coffee every single time (which on some days meant 4-5 rounds of coffee!).  
The coffee ceremony begins with the preparation of the room for the ritual.
The woman performing the ceremony spreads fresh, aromatic grasses and flowers across the floor and starts burning incense to ward off evil spirits.

She fills a round-bottomed clay coffeepot known as a jebena with water and places it over hot coals to boil. In the meantime, she roasts green coffee beans in a pan, stirring them constantly to reach an even roast. When roasted, the beans are ground in a special bowl called mukecha.

She then adds the freshly ground coffee the coffeepot and brings it to boil. At this point, coffee (usually drank black) is ready.

After the first round of coffee, there are typically two additional servings. The three servings are known as abol, tona, and baraka and each serving is a little bit weaker than the first. Each cup is said to transform the spirit, and the third serving is considered to be a blessing to those who drink it.

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