Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony


In late 2019 I had the incredible opportunity to fly out to Uganda and visit some coffee farms and coffee mills and processing plants in hopes to see some farmers in action, build relationships and buy some coffee.

However, what I didn't expect is to be welcomed into the home of a native Ugandan and be served, a delicious mind you, cup of coffee in the traditional Ethiopian way - the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. I know you're like "wait, Uganda, Ethiopia? Which one?", for clarity we were in Uganda drinking Ugandan coffee the Ethiopian way. Settled. Now when you google 'Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony' this the first article you'll find is this one which talks about some spiritual warding off of spirits or something because of Ethiopia's deep Islamic heritage... we didn't do anything like that, but the practical aspect is quite similar to what I experienced.

The coffee is roasted right in front of you on a skillet, water cooled, then ground down and put into a really cool kettle called a jebena. Once the coffee has been brewed for the desired amount it is poured out in about 4oz ceramic stylistic cups (pictured) with the option for sugar or no sugar. (I require no sugar). 

What did it taste like? It was legitimately like drinking a well balanced shot of single origin espresso that was maybe pulled at a 1:3 ratio instead of 1:2. By far the best coffee I experienced on my travels, but taste aside one thing that I appreciated about it was the communal aspect of the coffee ceremony. In the picture you see smiling faces (mine included) and that is one aspect that I believe relationship is foundational for the beverage no matter where you are. Coffee is without a doubt a catalyst for community and for building relationships, to ignore this is to miss a big aspect of the potential of this beautiful agricultural product. It is a comfort to see this as something universal, and not only exclusive to my experience.

Thank you all for joining in the journey! Let me know what things you guys would like to hear more of, or what questions you have. 

-Joel Friedrich