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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ethiopian Buna Coffee Ceremony

The process of preparing Buna is long, this is why coffee is enjoyed in a group settings. Gathering for Buna is a time of socialization, a time to be together and to talk for women.

Coffee in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, is Buna. Buna is also the name of the coffee ceremony conducted by Ethiopian women. The host clothing should be a traditional Ethiopian dresses when preparing the ceremony. When a man prepares Buna he is questioned regarding his masculinity however there are a few exceptions to this rule. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a ritual that the women of Ethiopia have participated in for centuries.

The coffee may be prepared three times in one day for various reasons including a meal. There is a time to share Buna with family, a time to drink Buna with other women and for breakfast or dinner and may include immediate family, including male members.

Buna coffee ceremony
Buna coffee ceremony by ADavey 
The jebena, an often-ornate pot, is used to boil, prepare, and serve the coffee. If you do not have a jebena you serve tea. No jebena means no coffee ceremony. Items such as a tray with coffee cups and all of the items needed for making coffee are gathered and brought to the space in which the ceremony will take place. The primary principle of organizing all of the items is to gather everything at once so that the woman preparing the coffee does not get up to collect other items later. The popcorn is the snack or maybe bread, since the Buna is never just coffee. The snack is enjoyed throughout the preparation process and while drinking coffee, with the intent of prolonging the Buna socializing experience.
The ceremony space is typically in a living room where others can sit comfortably and watch the preparation of the coffee ceremony. Coffee is rarely prepared in a kitchen. It is important to sit on a stool or chair, close to the ground, and have the coal stove accessible. You never sit on the ground unless in mourning, In Ethiopia you sit on the floor when you are mourning, when you have lost someone.
Once the coffee beans are cleaned and sorted, they are roasted on the stove. Once the beans transform to a rich, dark brown color, they are roasted and ready to be ground. The fragrant, roasted beans are taken around the room so that participants can enjoy the aroma. Incense is also burned to add to the fragrance of the coffee. The absence of incense is considered a poor Buna ceremony. Once the beans are roasted, they are ground. There are three rounds of boiling and drinking coffee in the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Tradition mandates the boiling of three pots of coffee and consumption of at least one cup of coffee from each pot. To drink to the third pot is a sign of good luck and a blessing.

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