Imagine walking down a dirt road lined with various fences. Some made of corrugated tin, others made of small tree trunks and still others made of a hodge-podge of both. Behind the fences you can hear a deep rhythmic thud, thud, thud, and from some wafts the scent of roasting coffee and incense. Finally you reach your co-workers gate, where you’ve been invited for coffee.
While small-talk ensues your coworker is gently rinsing a handful of raw, pale green, coffee beans. She puts the rinsed coffee beans onto a gently curved circular roasting pan and holds it over the glowing charcoal in her stove. She pushes the coffee beans around the roasting pan until they are dark brown, with small bits of pale green still visible. “The problem with American coffee,” she says to you “is that it is burned during roasting. To make it sweet, it must look like this.”
|A Traditional Coffee Ceremony Set Up|
While it’s a lot of fun to do an authentic coffee ceremony with the jebena and everything, I know for most people back home it probably isn’t very likely to happen with the equipment available. So, for the sake of modern convenience I’ll tell you how to brew Ethiopian style coffee at home.
|Clockwise from top - Buna jebena, smoking insence on coal, two cini, sugar pot.|
A small frying pan
A coffee grinder or deep mortar and pestle
A tea pot
As many small tea cups as you need to serve yourself and/or your guests
1 Cup of raw coffee beans
7 Cups of water
1 tsp cloves (optional)
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
Give the coffee beans a good rinse and dry them off. Heat up the frying pan and throw them thar coffee beans on. Roast them until they are golden brown. NOT BURNT! NOT BLACK! Just golden brown. It’s okay if you see tiny specks of green still. I’m told that’s part of what makes Ethiopian coffee so good. Let the roasted beans cool. Either pound or grind the beans until they are as fine as you can get them. If you want to add the cloves and cinnamon add them to grinder or mortar with the beans to grind them together. Boil the water in the tea pot, add the coffee and steep it at a low simmer until the grounds sink to the bottom (about 5 minutes). You can check to see if the grounds are settled by pouring a bit of the coffee into a tea cup. If there are a lot of grounds in it, let it simmer until there is less. It’s okay to have a few grounds. There is always a small layer of coffee sediment in the bottom of cini. Pour the coffee and serve with sugar or black if you prefer.
If you didn’t catch my last blog, it’s all about the origin of coffee, so check it out if you’re interested.