Coffee has a fascinating history dating back to at least the 9th century.
The word derives from the word 'Kaffa', a highland province of south western Ethiopia, an area where the coffee plant grew naturally and from there it has been dispersed to coffee growing regions around the world.
According to popular legend, the local goatherds noticed a change in the behaviour of their herd after the animals had eaten berries from the coffee plants. They tried the berries for themselves and the idea of coffee as a 'pick me up' was born.
Traders and travellers from Ethiopia and Sudan chewed the green berries to help them survive long and difficult journeys in harsh conditions. Word soon spread and coffee became popular in many regions. With time, the tradition came to be used during religious ceremonies and eventually to social occasions and celebrations.
Still today, the coffee ceremony forms and integral part of the social and cultural life of Ethiopia and is practiced daily in Ethiopian families, and girls are taught the procedure from a young age.
An invitation to a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of respect and friendship and is a typical example of the wonderful hospitality to be experienced in Ethiopia.
In contrast to "instant" coffee, the ceremony can take several hours and involve a number of cups taken in a leisurely fashion.
The ceremony commences with an Ethiopian girl , dressed in a traditional white dress, trimmed with locally woven braid, who lays down a bed of native scented grasses.
A charcoal brazier is placed over the grassy bed and the fire lit. The girl then spreads the washed, green berries on a flat pan over the brazier and as they roast she stirs and shakes the berries to loosen the husks. The roasted berries are crushed in a mortar and pestle and brewed in a traditional black pot, called a "djebena".
When the coffee is ready, it is strained and poured with much ceremony. The oldest person is served first, followed by guests and family.
The coffee is accompanied by snacks of popped corn, roasted peanuts or barley and much leisurely social chat and amusement.
You can experience all this and more first hand on the trip of a lifetime to Ethiopia. The Hamlin Ethiopian Adventure!
And enjoy the flavours of Ethiopia at home with Hamlin Roast coffee beans.
Why Ethiopian? The quality of coffee is dependent on the location in which it is grown and the highest altitudes produce the best berries, which is why the Ethiopian highlands are renowned for exceptional quality coffee.
Hamlin Roast Coffee Beans are sourced from Ethiopia and are of the Washed Sidamo variety, yielding a typically soft, round, citrusy flavour.
When you buy Hamlin Roast, you are supporting not only an Ethiopian woman in urgent need of medical care but also some of the 15 million Ethiopians who rely on the coffee trade for their living.
So, drink up in the knowledge that, as the Ethiopians would say, "Buna dabo naw", "Coffee is our bread"!
Find Hamlin Roast here.