The Ancient Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
Legend has it we learned about coffee from goats.
Kaldi was in the highlands minding his father’s goats. This was in ancient Abyssinia, the land we now call Ethiopia. The occasional nap was part of the goat herder’s afternoon and one day Kaldi awoke to find his goats had disappeared. After a frantic search he spotted his charges atop a hill in the distance. As he got closer to them he noticed some strange goat behaviour. Some of them seemed to be dancing!
The goats were munching on the leaves and red cherries of an unfamiliar plant. Inside the red cherry were two green seeds. Ethiopians eventually invented the slow process of cooking these seeds, called roasting, which transforms the green seeds into one of the most amazing drinks on earth – coffee – worth dancing about.
The Coffee Ceremony, where coffee is roasted, ground and brewed is central to the Ethiopian lifestyle. Several times a day Ethiopians will gather to drink fresh roasted coffee. The process of roasting used around the world today, is based on the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.
First the coffee, which has been naturally dried, has any bits of the cherry or outer husk removed. The beans are then washed. Next the coffee is placed on a flat pan on a fire. The flavour of the roasted coffee can be fine tuned by varying the temperature or the length of time it is roasted.
The remote mountain regions of Ethiopia are filled with the aroma of coffee roasting. The scent is an invitation to any passer-by to drop in for a cup of coffee.
The traditional prayer at the end of the coffee ceremony is:
Let your family live and your house stay in peace, let your children grow well, and let God give you the grace He has accorded to coffee.
We thank the Ethiopians for sharing this amazing drink with us!