The Depth of a Simple Thing

Ethiopians have this beautiful tradition of a coffee ceremony – a ritual woven deep into the culture where neighbours, friends and new acquaintances find a common bond. Already in this trip to Addis, I’ve shared in several ceremonies and fall deeper in love with the people I’m surrounded by in the process.

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Learning to roast the beans
Learning how to properly roast the beans Habesha (Ethiopian) style.

In the lengthy process of a coffee ceremony, there is an intimate bond of unhurried conversation, meaningful friendships that form and deepen amidst the smoky beans roasting, and the sense of elegant tradition weaving a common thread across cultures. I think Ethiopians have caught on to something important. They know the art of stopping, shedding life’s distractions and being present with those around them. And in the process of learning to properly roasting beans, I feel that deeper lesson sinking into my soul. This is community. 

Coffee ceremony

Community is being present to hear their stories, learn from each other and bridge a gap between cultures, experiences and all ages. It’s the power of shared life.

A traditional Ethiopian jebena is made from black pottery.
A traditional Ethiopian jebena is made from black pottery.

In a full ceremony, you’ll receive three cups of coffee (bunna). The first round is called Abol. Many add two to three small spoonfuls of sugar and powdered milk (making a macchiato that’s to die for) or just drinking with sugar (my favourite). Two more rounds follow, Tona and finally Baraka, which seals a blessing for all present. Learn more about the traditional ceremony here.

Brewing the coffee
Brewing the coffee

Coffee from Ethiopia is the best in the world. (If you don’t believe me, listen to the experts.) But the people that I’m blessed to share those ceremonies with are even better. Over the last few days I have shared many cups of this dark espresso with inspiring individuals who have endured much and overcome through the power of Christ.

Coffee Ceremony with family in Ethiopia

In the simple act of shared coffee, the fragrance I think reaches to the heavens because I believe that “where two or three are gathered in His name, He’s there with us.”

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