Perks Of The Job: An Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Last year, I was asked by another agent in my office to write an offer for one of her clients because she had two clients who wanted to write on the same house. The buyers I helped out with were originally from Ethiopia. I am interested in other cultures, including their food and their celebrations, so it was fun getting to know them throughout the process.

When their offer was accepted, the other agent took everything back over. But during our conversations, I had asked them about Ethiopian food, their culture and they shared some cool information with me. When they closed on the home, they said they would invite both agents over when they do an Ethiopian dinner.

True to their word, I was surprised to get a group text in early December inviting many people over for lunch and an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. There were four other families with their children and many nationalities represented (including Indian, Asian, and Hispanic) all gathering to eat Ethiopian food.

It was absolutely delicious. There were a lot of vegetables like sauteed chard, something like a samosa, lentils, lamb, and chicken. The highlight of the lunch, however, was the coffee ceremony. They took raw coffee beans and roasted them over the stove. You have to shake the special pan they use constantly and it is very messy, with the skins of the beans starting to peel off as they roast.

I did a little research about Ethiopian coffee ceremonies afterward, and here is some interesting information I found: the ceremonies usually take place three times a day in most traditional Ethiopian households, and are a must whenever a guest calls. To be invited to a ceremony is a show of friendship and respect, things that are highly valued in Ethiopian culture.

It is considered the most important social occasion in some regions and the coffee is typically prepared by the host, who is usually a woman who leads the household; being the host and preparing the coffee is a high honor. The host performs all three phases in front of their guests: in the final phase, not one, but three rounds of coffee are served. The first round, which is the strongest, is called Abol. The second is called Tona. And the third, which is the weakest round, is called Baraka.

This is something I really love about being in real estate. On any given day, I can meet new clients and make new friends, just through my normal business dealings. I may never have had the opportunity to experience traditional Ethiopian cuisine or a coffee ceremony in another line of work. And I’m so glad I had that experience!

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