Guest Blog by Djalene Temesgen
I started drinking bunna (Amharic for coffee) when I was 18 years old. Late? I know. That is because my parents thought of coffee as addictive and wanted to spare me. But I managed to steal a sip or two behind their backs, and I knew that I would start drinking coffee (officially) as soon as was free of my parents’ supervision. So, I did. Soon after I started college, I began drinking coffee religiously and I have stuck with it ever since.
I drink macchiato (Ethiopian-style), cappuccino or any other drink with coffee in it. But my favorite is plain black coffee made in the traditional clay pot (jebena). I think what makes this special for me is the ceremony as much as the coffee itself.
For me, drinking coffee the Ethiopian way is much more than just the drink. I am sure the same is true for many of my fellow-Ethiopians. It is as much about the ceremony and the gathering (and the discussion about everything and nothing)! It is probably one of the few occasions where families, neighbors and friends allow themselves to relax and enjoy everything coffee has to offer. And it was one of the few occasions I have always looked forward to when I was in Ethiopia, especially after a long and busy week; I prefer having my ceremonial coffee on weekends.
The roasting, grinding, brewing, and the talking may take about an hour or more depending on the gathering. But what I find most interesting and noteworthy is how we still managed to keep this tradition of ‘lengthy coffee ceremony’ intact in the face of everything else changing in these busy modern times. This is priceless!
And after all is done, the sweet aroma of the roasted coffee lingers; a reminder of how life is a little better when we drink coffee, the Ethiopian way!