A coffee ceremony is a ritualized form of making and drinking coffee. The coffee ceremony was first practiced in Ethiopia and Eritrea. There is a routine of serving coffee on a daily basis, mainly for the purpose of getting together with relatives, neighbors, or other visitors. If coffee is politely declined, then tea (Chai) will most likely be served.
Loose grass is spread on the floor where the coffee ceremony is held, often decorated with small yellow flowers. Composite flowers are sometimes used, especially around the celebration of Meskel, an annual religious holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches, which commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress Helena in the fourth century. .
This is followed by the grinding of the beans, traditionally in a wooden mortar and pestle. The coffee grounds are then put into a special vessel which contain boiled water and will be left on an open flame a couple of minutes until it is well mixed with the hot water.
After grinding, the coffee is put through a sieve several times. The boiling pot (jebena) is usually made of pottery and has a spherical base, a neck and pouring spout, and a handle where the neck connects with the base. The jebena also has a straw lid.[
The host pours the coffee for all participants by moving the tilted boiling pot over a tray with small, handleless cups from a height of one foot without stop until each cup is full. The grounds are brewed three times: the first round of coffee is called awel in Tigrinya, the second kale’i and the third baraka (‘to be blessed’). The coffee ceremony may also include burning of various traditional incense. People add sugar to their coffee, or in the countryside, sometimes salt or traditional butter. The beverage is accompanied by a small snack such as popcorn, peanuts or himbasha (also called ambasha).