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Ethiopian Coffee(Buna) Ceremony

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Ethiopian Coffee(Buna) Ceremony (Buna means coffee in Amharic) is part of the Ethiopian culture. The coffee ceremony is celebrated by all the tribes in Ethiopian and by all Ethiopians across the world. In most household in Ethiopia the coffee ceremony occurs to one to three times a day. It is a gathering between family and friends. Ethiopia is to be known as the birthplace of coffee.  The Ceremony is consisting of three rounds. Each serving is as mall as on espresso shot. The first round is called Abol and it is very the strongest pot of coffee. The second is called Bereka and it is slightly less strong than the first cup. The third round is Tona and is slightly less strong than the second cup. For each round more water is added to the coffee pot(also known as Jebena) and brewed again. Popcorn and traditional breade(also know as Defo Dabo) is served with the coffee for guest to enjoy.  

File:Jebena (coffee Pot).jpg

Ceremony Steps

The ceremony usually starts with setting the coffee station which has small expresso cups, pot made out clay, coffee stand, small portable stove (the most traditional stove use charcoal as source of fire), grass for decoration and incense (also known as itane) to light up during the ceremony.  First the woman who brews the coffee start by laying grass on the floor and small bench to sit on. Then put the coffee stand which usually made of wood and the size depends on the amount guest. Then they put down a small espresso cup with saucer on the stand. Next the coffee stand it will the portable stove with the coffee pot and incense with burner.

File:Tradtiona Coffe Setup.png

The women who brew the coffee usually  wear long dress to cover their leg when they sit on small bench. They use a fresh coffee bean. First, they wash the coffee bean and use traditional pan to roast the coffee. Once the coffee is roasted, it is transferred to a plate and the women will spark some water to the coffee before she goes around the room for the people to smell it. Afterward, the coffee gets by hand using a tool like mortar and pestle to fine ground.

The coffee power is added  to jebena with the water. The coffee gets brewed slowly on the hot coal. Once the coffee is brewed it will sit for couple of minutes for the power to settle down. The coffee is poured in slowly in one stream to the cups without stopping to prevent the dregs pouring into the cups. The youngest female in the house will pass the coffee with sugar around starting from the oldest person to the youngest. Usually, the coffee isn’t served with milk in Ethiopian. The guest shows appreciation to the women by complimenting her on her coffee brew skills. After the first round of cup is served the lady get started on the second  round by adding water to jebena and brewing it again followed by the third round of cup of coffee.

File:Coffee Pouring.jpg

Culture Significant and Differences

The coffee ceremony has a big significance in the Ethiopian tradition and culture. Every celebration, holiday, gathering has a coffee ceremony celebration. It is a way of welcoming people to your house. During the ceremony people have conversation about family, current event, and politics.

The ceremony steps among different tribes is almost the same. Depending what part of the country you visit the coffee might be served with salt, butter, or honey instead of sugar. Also, the Jebena is slightly different. It might have one or two or three oping to pour the coffee with.


Arnold, Sara C. “The Big Buna Bash.” Skipping Stones, vol. 32, no. 1, 2020, p. 31–.

Hunt, Nick. “Ethiopia: At a Glance.” New Internationalist, no. 436, 2010, p. 34–.

Palmer, David. “The Ethiopian Buna (Coffee) Ceremony: Exploring the Impact of Exile and the Construction of Identity through Narratives with Ethiopian Forced Migrants in the United Kingdom.” Folklore (London), vol. 121, no. 3, 2010, pp. 321–33,

Roxanna Bennett and Susan Semenak. “How Do You Like Your Coffee?: Toronto Edition.” National Post (Toronto), 2006.

Roxanna Bennett and Susan Semenak. “How Do You Like Your Coffee?: Toronto Edition.” National Post (Toronto), 2006.

Workman, Betina. “Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.” Skipping Stones, vol. 27, no. 1, 2015, p. 24–.

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