Monday, August 18, 2008

Traditional Roast

There is nothing more aromatic than coffee as it is being roasted. Yesterday I experienced that firsthand when I attended an Ethiopian coffee ceremony with a friend.

Once a week Sidamo offers a demonstration of how coffee is traditionally prepared in Ethiopia. A woman in her native costume sits on a straw mat in the middle of the shop and roasts the raw coffee beans over an open flame. The beans, which start out almost white, gradually take on the rich coffee color as they are heated. The process produces a sweet-smelling smoke.

After the beans are roasted, the woman begins to heat a container of water over the same fire while she grinds the roasted beans into a fine powder. She then removes the water from the heat and adds the powder, allowing the coffee to “steep” just as we might prepare a pot of tea.

The rich hot coffee is then served to everyone in the shop free of charge in small cups. It has the feel of Turkish coffee without one bit of acidity.

After we were served, my friend tried her hand at roasting coffee. With a little encouragement, she ended up with similarly dark brown beans. The shop owner ground them for her and sent her home with a week’s worth of Ethiopian coffee.

It was extremely interesting to see firsthand just how coffee is transformed from the initial pale beans into the fragrant dark roast we have come to know and love.


Blogger bulletholes said...

I worked with a Lebanese man that showed me the same thing years was very cool....he also had some kind of a resinous sweetener that he put in it,,, looked like little amber BB's....his English was bad, as was my Lebanese(hah) and I never did figure out what that stuff was.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Lonely Paul said...


10:28 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bulletholes -- This coffee differed from the traditional sweet Middle-Eastern coffee in that it was not sweetened at all. I always found Turkish coffee to be too sweet for me. There is something about this type of experience that doesn't even require words. The coffee does the communicating!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

What an experience! I've never even thought about roasting coffee.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- If you drink coffee and you are ever in town on a Sunday afternoon, head on over to Sidamo around 2:00 and experience coffee-roasting firsthand.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Yum!!! I can practically smell that delicious looking coffee right through my computer screen... As I'm once again trying to give up coffee. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be swinging by that place eventually.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- It does make it hard for me too as I try to limit my coffee intake. Oh well, most anything in moderation is OK I figure!

9:27 PM  
Blogger Mo said...

Oh my god, this looks so amazing. I've been taking a coffee break for the past month, and I'm starting to have a jones for joe. I think your post might be the last straw...

11:01 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mo -- Coffee is even more special after you haven't had any for a while!

11:05 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...


theres someone in a road adjacent to ours, at home, who roasts their own coffee..... wonderful wonderful aroma

6:16 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Lovely post and pictures. Did you let the folks at Sidamo know about it? They loved it when I posted about them a couple of years ago.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lettuce -- Obviously you too love the smell of roasting coffee despite being a tea drinker!

Reya -- I will let them know next Monday when we go there for coffee. Good idea!

8:32 AM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a wonderful opportunity and blessing to participate...loverly pics thanks for sharing....

11:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home