Here’s another personal blog entry from volunteer Dave Pearce from his trip to Ethiopia. Taking a moment to soak in the culture is always an important part of every volunteer trip. Sometimes, the simplest things are the most memorable!
One of my biggest joys and memories while volunteering in Ethiopia was the Saturday / Sunday notion of the Traditional Coffee Ceremony. It’s tremendous– It’s wonderful– If you like coffee!
Preparing coffee, the traditional way
Close to noon, the platform is prepared– ladies scatter freshly cut grass and add beautiful flower petals- as they add both color and class. Atop the grass sets the small coffee table holding little cups, sugar, saucers, spoons, spice, and service for 8 or more.
Add a small, but HOT fired stove, the Ethiopian Jebena (round clay) Coffee Pot, a special settling stand, a popcorn dish, Mulu and our ceremony can begin.
Fresh green coffee beans are poured into a dish-like skillet. The mokecha (a hooked metal stir) to roll back and forth each bean for proper roasting. The wonderful coffee aroma begins to rise from the roasting beans–ummmmm um! The beans are popping and Mulu rakes and stirs constantly. The aroma intensifies.
At just the right moment, Mulu sweeps the beans from the hot plate to the cooler saucer. I get the first full whiff! Ohhhh la la! What a wonderful aroma! The next step involves a mortar and pestle like tool to grind and ready the beans for the jebena pot. At the same time, Mulu starts the popcorn in an aluminum kettle much like used in America.
The freshly roasted and ground beans are poured into the jebena and placed back on the fire and brought to boil. Once boiling, the pot is then removed and set aside to allow the grounds time to settle.
Enjoying the freshly popped popcorn–Mulu carefully pours the rich coffee into the cups, avoiding any grounds from pouring from the jebena into the cups. Mulu adds a little sugar, a sprig of Hyssop (as a stir)– and the service begins. WOW oh WOW Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Gevalis…. None of these hold a candle to Mulu’s Ethiopian Coffee!