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Coffe and chat


Drinking coffee (which in the Amharic language is called „buna”) is an essential element of culture in Ethiopia. It is believed that the Ethiopian province of Keffa is the fatherland of this beverage. The traditional ceremony of drinking coffee is commenced with rinsing raw, which means white, seeds. Afterwards, coffee is burnt, ground in a mortar, and used to prepare the beverage. For this purpose, special jugs, heated up on charcoal, are used. The brew is used three times. Another element of the custom is nibbling freshly prepared roasted maize, and the drinking of coffee is accompanied by the smell of incense. For Ethiopians, coffee is the most important exported merchandise. Enormous industrial plantations are situated in the South-West of the country, but it is possible to come across single small trees everywhere. The peoples of the South who cannot afford genuine coffee prepare a beverage with the use of the husks of coffee grains.


This is a plant having moderate narcotic properties. The fresh leaves of it are chewed because it is only in such a form that its influence is maintained. Chat once upon a time used to be popular solely among the Muslims in the East of Ethiopia, but nowadays it has conquered the entire country. Being popular in this part of the world, in Yemen and, Somalia, it is becoming increasingly well known throughout Africa. The traditional chewing of chat is a social ceremony. Men sit down next to one another, each of them with a bunch of twigs. They chew chat in this manner for a few hours. Its leaves are torn off one after one and chewed slowly, gathering in the mouth, under the cheek. It is important to drink some water while one is doing that – at least, in the traditional version, because in the modern one energizing beverage will serve the purpose well. The element of the custom in Ethiopia is also nibbling groundnuts. The results include: the improvement of mood, lack of appetite and absence of the feeling of tiredness. It is impossible to become intoxicated with chat in the same manner as with other narcotics, or alcohol – all it results in, is slight stupefaction. The best chat, as it is considered, is the one cultivated in the neighbourhood of Harer, from which area it is exported to nearby Somalia. This plant is phasing out from the fields of Ethiopia coffee, in which cases the fluctuations of prices make plantation owners suffer from headaches.



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