You must be aware that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia. The story goes …. “According to national folklore, the origin of coffee is firmly rooted in Ethiopia‘s history. Their most popular legend concerns the goat herder from Kaffa, where the plants still grow wild in the forest hills. After discovering his goats to be excited, almost dancing on their hind legs, he noticed a few mangled branches of the coffee plant which was hung with bright red berries. He tried the berries himself and rushed home to his wife who told him that he must tell the monks. The chief monk called these berries the ” Devils work ” and threw the sinful drug into the flames, an action soon to be followed by the smell we are all so familiar with now. They crushed the beans, raked them out of the fire, and distilled the stimulating substance in boiling water. Within minutes the monastery filled with the heavenly aroma of roasting beans, and the other monks gathered to investigate. After sitting up all night, they found a renewed energy to their holy devotions. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Ethiopia‘s coffee ceremony is an integral part of their social and cultural life. An invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship or respect and is an excellent example of Ethiopian hospitality.I managed to take some pictures to share with you how they serve coffee or “Machiato” traditionally. I apologize for the bad quality of pictures. It was really dark and I couldn’t avoid the camera shake, but i still wanted to click n share these wonderful pictures with you.
The ceremony is usually conducted by a young woman, dressed in the traditional Ethiopian attire of a white dress with coloured woven borders. The long involved process starts with the ceremonial apparatus being arranged. The roasting of the coffee beans is done in a flat pan over a tiny charcoal stove, the pungent smell mingling with the heady scent of incense which is always burned during the ceremony. The lady who is conducting the ceremony gently washes a handful of coffee beans on the heated pan, then stirs and shakes the husks away. When the coffee beans have turned black and shining and the aromatic oil is coaxed out of them, they are ground by a pestle and a long handled mortar. The ground coffee is slowly stirred into the black clay coffee pot locally known as ‘jebena’, which is round at the bottom with a straw lid.
The Coffee is traditionally served with popcorn, peanuts or cooked barley. In most parts of Ethiopia, the coffee ceremony takes place three times a day – morning, noon and evening. It is the main social event within the village and a time to discuss the community, politics, and basically all kinds of gossip.
They also consider it impolite if you leave until having consumed at least three cups, as the third round is considered to bestow a blessing. Hehe so be sure you are ready to buzz after one coffee session.
The lady finally serves the coffee in tiny china cups to everyone sitting around her, on little kiddie sized stools who have waited and watched her make it for the past half-hour.
After having coffee like this I don’t think I can ever settle for instant coffee. It just doesn’t taste right. And surely it feels so special when I bring out my exotic coffee pot – “jebena” and make some coffee … so therapeutic as the aroma of the freshly ground coffee bean fills up the room and shoots right up to the head through the nostrils. If in Addis you could sample this lovely coffee at the Hilton Hotel.
So I did this little coffee party and made some lovely Chocolate Tarts with sweet Chestnut and Fresh Cream icing. Perfectly sweet, bite sized coffee time treats.
The recipe is really simple. I used some left over chocolate pastry dough for the tart shells. For the filling I used equal amt of chocolate and cream, melted by pouring hot cream over the chocolate. I poured it into the baked tart shells and chilled it till it set. And then the icing … 2 icing bags, one with fresh whipped cream and one with sweetened chestnut puree. Chill it again till sets and serve with hot coffee.