In Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, the daily drinking of this ancient beverage is part of a ritualized cultural ceremony rich in history and sometimes hours in length. The beans are freshly roasted, incense is burned and multiple cups are passed around. The 30 minute video I recently completed for an Ethiopian nonprofit has this 2 minute video about the ceremony with-in it. Check it out and share with any coffee freaks who might enjoy.
“Ethiopian Buna (Coffee) Ceremony is a long process, averaging around 1.5 hours. While these coffee ceremonies can be an everyday occurrence, a major purpose is to come to a certain important conclusion — someone asking for a hand in marriage or looking for resolution to a conflict that cannot otherwise be solved.
First, a fire is built to roast the coffee beans. When the coffee has roasted, the woman who’s preparing it — dressed to the nines, by the way — carries the metal pot that the coffee’s roasting in around the room so that everyone can capture the aromas. Think of when a sommelier asks you to approve a glass of wine at a restaurant — if it’s not up to par, you can send it back.
The first cup enjoyed during the ceremony is known as Abol. This is the strongest cup, and therefore has the most significance. If you’re looking to resolve a conflict, you must show up during this stage — anytime afterwards during the ceremony would be pointless.
The second cup is known as Tona: water is added to the cup but it still maintains a significant amount of strength. If a resolution isn’t reached by the second cup, then a third cup does not happen.
The third cup of the coffee ceremony is Baraka: it’s the weakest cup, but it symbolizes acceptance, resolution, and joy. People celebrate at this cup, and the younger generation is often invited to drink that cup.“
I was honored to receive the Getty Images/Lean-In grant which took me to Ethiopia to work for a female-centric nonprofit. I then went on to work with Green Mountain Coffee and do some personal projects.