Coffee is part of the national heritage of Ethiopia and a source of national pride. There are coffee shops seemingly on every street in the capital city of Addis Ababa. This fascination with coffee in Ethiopia goes back hundreds of years as Ethiopians lay claim to their country being the place of origin of coffee. Legend has it that an Abyssinian goad herder from Kaffa named Kaldi noticed his goat’s acted in an excited manner after grazing on a small shrub with bright red berries. Curiosity let him to try the berries himself and, like his goats, Kaldi also felt energized. From that humble beginning, coffee has become a favored drink around the world. In the United States alone, it has been estimated that the coffee industry in 2015 generated $225 billion in economic activity. Direct consumption of coffee has been estimated as having a value of $74.2 million (http://www.ncausa.org/industry-resources/economic-impact).
The coffee ceremony, a ritualized form of making and drinking coffee, has become highly ingrained in Ethiopia culture. People gather around the coffee pot and enjoy close times of friendship and it is also a way to show hospitality to anyone who visits in a home.The ceremony is typically performed by the woman of the household and is considered an honor to conduct. Raw coffee beans are roasted over charcoal, and ground in a wooden mortar and pestle. It is then brewed in boiling water in a pot called a jebena that is made of black pottery that has a long neck and a pouring spout.
Emily Doyle has written a wonderful description of the coffee ceremony with much more detail than I have provided here (http://www.epicurean.com/articles/ethiopian-coffee-ceremony.html).
It could be said that a person has not really experienced Ethiopia until being exposed to a coffee ceremony. (Images courtesy of Dr. Bill Yost, Wooster, OH, USA)