This Pike Place Market Shop Holds Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremonies

In Ethiopia, making coffee at home is a special ritual that takes nearly two hours. Raw beans are roasted by hand on the stove and taken outside to be pounded with a mortar and pestle. Meeraf Mamo, owner of Geni’s Ethiopian and Lands of Origin, hopes this coffee ceremony will catch visitors’ eyes when they walk past her Pike Place Market shop, Lands of Origin.

Mamo and her husband Jonathan Sinton met in Iowa while working on master’s degrees and moved to Seattle seven years ago. They met while working in development for IT companies, and Mamo was working as a stay-at-home mom, cooking three meals a day and searching for a way to put her Masters in Business Administration degree to use. In 2018, they opened Geni’s Ethiopian, complete with a logo of a jebena, and began selling plates of chicken doro wat and lentils mesir wat with sides of chickpea stew and braised cabbage. The stand took off quickly, and soon they had catering contracts with tech companies and lines at farmers markets. During the pandemic, they expanded their offerings, creating dinner menus from other countries in Africa and curating a spice kit and recipe booklet to help people learn how to cook Ethiopian dishes.

Mamo also taught cooking classes at The Pantry, and the feedback she received everywhere was not only positive but also proof that there was an insatiable hunger for education on African cuisine. She sees that there is no easy way to get it, and she knows from experience that the appetite exists.

Lands of Origin is the first step in trying to feed that appetite. The shop, which opened in November 2023, is part African bakery, part grocery store, and part casual Ethiopian coffee shop. A large case in the front is filled with spiced lentil sambusas and Moroccan lamb crispy buns, warm Mozambican pasteis de nata custard tarts, and Ethiopian shakshuka rolls, and usually Mamo’s sister Masti Abera is the smiling face behind the counter.

For now, one can partake in coffee during weekend mornings. Mamo hopes to expand upon this loose, casual affair during the summer months, setting people up on the sidewalk just outside with their own jebena, cups, and sugar to pour their own drinks. Until then, you still can convince her to pour you a cup and tell you stories of Africa. Just like Mamo’s gossiping neighbors in Ethiopia, you’ll gladly find yourself there for hours, sipping coffee and snacking on at least two of those pasteis de nata tarts.

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