To have a cup of coffee in Ethiopia is truly an experience. Nothing like pressing a button and putting a cup under a machine! No, it is a whole ceremony, which can take hours.
To start with the coffee beans are washed with water. This will remove the husks, as well as any dirt. Then, they are slowly roasted on an iron plate put on a charcoal fire. All of this will be done in front of the guest. Slowly the whole room will be filled with the beautiful aroma of freshly roasted coffee. When the beans have got the right colour, the coffee will be pounded in a wooden kind of mortar into a powder. This is often done outside, it makes a lot of noice.
While the coffee is being pounded, the water is put on the fire in a small clay-pot with two spouts. One on top for putting the water and coffee, and one on the side for pouring the coffee. Sometimes popcorn are prepared before boiling the water. This is for the so-called Coffee Breakfast. Popcorn, roasted grain, or sometimes bread, is always served while waiting. These are eaten long before the coffee is ready, to keep you going while waiting!
The coffee will now slowly boil in the clay-pot on the charcoal-fire. When ready, the pot will be put aside for a few minutes, allowing the grounds to settle in the bottom of the pot. The cups will be washed with water in front of the guest, sugar put in the cup, and the coffee poured to the brim. When you finish the cup will be collected and more coffee will be boiled by simply adding water to the pot. Naturally, this second cup will be weaker than the first. Three cups are often boiled, each with a different name. This is why it can take hours to have a cup of coffee- or three!
Ethiopian coffee is now available in many countries. Starbucks has different varieties for sale, and you can also find it in other shops. In the Ethiopian restaurants, a lady will often perform this ceremony to entertain the guests. Make sure you try this wonderful coffee!