A coffee ceremony is a ritualised form of making and drinking coffee. The coffee ceremony is one of the most recognizable parts of Ethiopian culture and Eritrean culture. Coffee is offered when visiting friends, during festivities, or as a daily staple of life. If coffee is politely declined then most likely tea (shai) will be served.
The ceremony is typically performed by the woman of the household and is considered an honor. The coffee is brewed by first roasting the green coffee beans over an open flame in a pan. This is followed by the grinding of the beans, traditionally in a wooden mortar and pestle. The coffee grounds are then put into a special vessel and boiled. After grinding, the coffee is put through a sieve several times. The boiling pot (jebena) is usually made of pottery and has a spherical base, a neck and pouring spout, and a handle where the neck connects with the base. The jebena also has a straw lid.
The host pours the coffee for all participants by moving the tilted boiling pot over a tray with small, handleless cups from a height of one foot without stop until each cup is full. The grounds are brewed three times: the first round of coffee is called awel in Tigrinya, the second kale'i and the third bereka ('to be blessed'). The coffee ceremony may also include burning of various traditional incense. People add sugar to their coffee, or in the countryside, sometimes salt or traditional butter (see niter kibbeh). The beverage is accompanied by a small snack such as popcorn, peanuts or himbasha.
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