Arriving in the sleepy village of Yirgalem in southern Ethiopia, we checked into a local resort with good ratings online. It’s a sprawling estate and guests stay in beautiful traditional huts on a hill overlooking a forest. It was the perfect place to get away from it all. It was also the best place to experience the Ethiopian coffee ceremony since we were amidst nature.
The coffee ceremony of Ethiopia
Coffee ceremonies abound everywhere in Ethiopia. In fact, travelers can find the most typical ones in hotel lobbies and tourist restaurants. Most coffee ceremonies we saw were quite authentic in feel. But here in Yirgalem, we had the real coffee ceremony.
COFFEE FOR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS
Ethiopians consider coffee central to their culture. In fact, it’s quite essential to their health and happiness. In the rural areas, the coffee ceremony brings the family together three times a day for a cup of this black gold. There are no coffee machines here.
Instead, participants choose the space for making coffee. Then, each step of the ceremony – from picking the beans to roasting, grinding and brewing – is allocated to family members who enjoy conversing as they go along.
MAKING OUR OWN COFFEE
We made up our minds to participate in this traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at least once a day during our stay. It was the perfect thing to do just before sunset every day. The venue of the coffee ceremony is always under a large tree in the garden. The resort staff always joins in, and the animals come along as well. There are always monkeys hanging from the trees, and some hyena waiting around nearby.
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This was not only a memorable scenery for a hot drink. In my mind, I mulled over the significance that daily traditions such as the traditional coffee ceremony of Ethiopia have on people. No matter how good or bad one’s day is going, I realized there should be always time for family to enjoy a quiet moment together.
Read more about traveling around Ethiopia in Travelife Magazine.