When you think of coffee, you probably envision a variety of brews with European influences, delivered by a noisy chrome machine and served in a sturdy cup.
However, there are numerous ways to get your caffeine fix and experience other cultures without leaving the country.
Consider Ethiopia as an example. Historians believe that coffee has been an integral part of Ethiopian culture since the ninth century.
It is likely that you have already tasted Ethiopian-grown coffee, as it is the country’s primary export, but it is less likely that you have consumed it as the locals do.
“The birthplace of coffee is Ethiopia,” says Wellington restaurateur Joel Teka.
“That is why we are so invested. The majority of Ethiopians are coffee addicts.” Joel Teka prepares traditional Ethiopian coffee at his restaurant on Cuba Street in Wellington.
On request, Teka will perform a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at his Cuba Mall cafe, Mother of Coffee.
This unique procedure is an all-encompassing sensory experience that honours the coffee and the people who enjoy it.
It begins with roasting green Ethiopian coffee beans in a hot pan in the presence of friends or family, allowing them to inhale their rich aroma (“the aroma is part of the atmosphere,” says Teka).
In his Wellington café, Mother’s Coffee, Joel Teka can conduct an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
After being roasted, the coffee beans are ground by hand using a mortar and pestle. The water is heated in a jebena, a traditional Ethiopian pot with a long neck and a spout, and then ground coffee is added.
“The jebena is made of clay, so it imparts an earthy flavour to the coffee,” Teka explains.
The jebena is placed over the heat and the coffee is allowed to boil before being removed from the heat to allow the grounds to settle to the bottom. The coffee is then poured into small cups from a height and served in three rounds.
“The first one is extremely potent, like a shot,” says Teka. The second is milder than the third, which is very weak.
Coffee is Ethiopia’s most valuable export, and most Ethiopians are “coffee addicts,” according to Joel Teka.