The best coffee I’ve ever had was in Ethiopia.
If there has ever been a place that surprised more it was Ethiopia. The sights and senses of Africa, yet different. More ancient and more organized in its own unique way. Ancient Christianity and fine silver crafts and impressive architecture and, of course, the coffee. Wow! the coffee is amazing. There is a little known tradition of roasting the beans and steeping the grounds for this drink that starts the morning for most of the world. The coffee ceremony, known as the buna, is marketed to tourists in hotels and in shops frequented by foreigners. But it is truly an authentic tradition practiced in homes all over Ethiopia and Eritrea.
I was lucky enough to be a guest in a home and experience a home coffee ceremony. The coffee beans were washed and roasted early in the morning, then ground and boiled fresh that same morning. The clay pot, jebena, was sitting on a tray with cups and snacks as I came down for breakfast. The smell was intoxicating and the coffee was great. I had never seen coffee given such reverence. In the first stage of serving, we drank a dark intense potent sip of coffee. The freshest coffee I will ever have. I knew the work that had been done for me to enjoy this cup, and the elegance of its presentation impressed me, including the subsequent stages of drinking the coffee. Baraka in Amharic means to be blessed, and drinking coffee in Ethiopia is to be blessed.