Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coffee for Ethiopians

In contrast of many coffee producing country's, Ethiopia is using a lot of their beans for proper use.

At their famous coffee ceremony you can have a good idea about the way they roast and brew their coffee.

Here's how it goes :

Freshly cut grass and flower petals are spread on the floor where the ceremony will be held, to resemble the carpet of grass and flowers found in nature.
The women who prepare and serve the coffee usually wear traditional Ethiopian clothing.
The lit charcoal burner is place on the grass carpet. The dried green raw coffee beans are washed and placed in a metal ladle or pan to be roasted over the charcoal burner. The rich, pungent aroma of coffee soon fills up the air, as does the sweet aroma from a very small quantity of incense, which is also burned in an incense burner. It's almost like we're in a church.

The roasting coffee beans are shaken sporadically until they turn dark brown.
Then the beans are grinded in a small mortar where they are (literally) smashed into powder.

The powdered coffee is poured skillfully into a jebena, a special clay kettle with a rounded bottom and a long skinny spout, which has already been filled with boiled water. If the water overflows when the coffee is added, a little cold water is added. After the coffee boils for a while, the jebena is removed from the charcoal. Finally the jebena is put on a special round stand for a short while to let the coffee grounds settle to the bottom.

The coffee is then poured skillfully into small coffee cups without handles.
Most people add lots of sugar and even milk, but the girl (on the photo) at the Bishangari lodge at Lake Langano did such a brilliant job the coffee was dead perfect. By far the best cup I had in those ten days. Most of the coffee is roasted way too dark, but not this one. Congratulations.
Off course, it helps when your boss is the brother of the most specialised coffee exporter in Ethiopia. More about Abdullah Bagersh in another post.
Here at the local market in Lallibella you see the people are selling green beans from the local plantation.
Even in this dry area, the coffee tastes good and sweet.
From what I saw over all my years in coffee business, I guess almost all beans in Ethiopia got certain charms. It's mostly just a matter of the right picking, washing (or not), drying and packing.

Soon more about it....

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