In Addis Ababa’s affluent Bole neighbourhood, the traditional smell of roasting coffee beans wafts through a thoroughly modern coffee shop. Garden of Coffee is agnostically decorated with large comfy couches and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the street, giving it the atmosphere of a coffee shop that could be anywhere in the world. Making it distinctively local is the woman spreading beans over an open roaster, in the slow circular movements of Ethiopia’s jebena buna coffee ceremony.
She sits behind a counter, not far from fresh pastries on display and a contemporary commercial espresso machine, dressed in a branded T-shirt rather than traditional dress that accompanies the formal ritual. It is this meeting of the modern and traditional that Garden of Coffee founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu wants to export to the world by opening Garden of Coffee outlets everywhere she can.