Coffee rituals and social traditions

There is perhaps no drink in the world that can better reflect social traditions than coffee. For some cultures, making coffee is an almost magical ritual. Let's explore!

Coffee rituals across the world

Drinking coffee has become a custom almost worldwide. Over time, different nations have developed their own coffee rituals and traditions. The way they approach coffee consumption reflects the cultural practices of a particular nation. The love of coffee that crosses borders has transformed coffee consumption into an experience.

African coffee ceremonies

Because coffee is at home here. In East Africa, coffee has its origins and the people who live here areculturally connected to it. The country's history, local traditions and religion are all interwoven with coffee. If we want to explore coffee rituals, we have to start here.

The coffee ceremony in Ethiopia is known locally as "jebena buna". It is considered the most important social event of the day. Traditional households repeat this event 2-3 times a day, taking their time to drink coffee. This social contact with the aroma of coffee lasts for 2 hours or more. How does the coffee ceremony take place?

Ethiopian coffee ceremony

  • is an art and is led by a skilled hostess, a young woman or the matriarch of the house.
  • The traditional dress is also traditional: a white cotton dress with colourful embroidered trimmings.
  • the family and guests are present, conversing on various topics
  • the ceremony begins with the roasting of coffee on a "menkeshkesh" - a long-handled pan
  • the dark roast coffee is poured into a bowl made of reeds "meshrefet" to cool
  • Guests enjoy the aroma of the coffee, complete with floral decorations and smoking incense
  • the coffee is then continued by boiling water for the coffee in a ceramic pot "jebena"
  • Meanwhile, the roasted coffee is crushed with a mallet "zenezena" in a mortar "mukechta"
  • hot water is first poured over the ground coffee in the bowl to form a slurry
    the wet lye is poured back into the kettle of hot water
  • the pouring is repeated until all the coffee from the bowl is in the pot
  • the coffee pot is returned to the fire
  • the hot pot of coffee is then put away in the "kofmobelee jebana" and coffee cups are prepared into which the coffee is poured from a height of a few centimetres
  • more water is added to the pot and it is put back on the fire to make the coffee, albeit weaker
  • popcorn or bread is traditionally served with the coffee

The coffee ceremony in Ethiopia is an important expression of the cultural identity and religion of the nation. It is an essential part of local life. During the ceremony, you show respect for the host, respect for tradition and gratitude for the offered cup of coffee.

Traditional drinking of coffee as a social drink

Where coffee rituals are similar in different countries is the concept of drinking coffee as a social act. Of course, you can have coffee on your own, but in any case, the tradition of drinking coffee comes from sharing a moment with another person. It is therefore customary to serve a favourite food with coffee.

Coffee traditions in different cultures

The way coffee is served and prepared varies from nation to nation. The most common pairing is coffee with dairy products, sweets and pastries. Swedish Fika is based on coffee with something sweet, typically like "kanelbullar": cinnamon snails. In Mexico it is typical to serve "café de olla", coffee brewed with cinnamon and brown sugar. Mexican cinnamon coffee is often served with "concha" (a sweet pastry made with yeast dough and sugar decorations). Brazilians drink black coffee brewed with sugar and served in bakeries. These also function as cafés.

In Malaysia, for example,coffee shops are called "kopitiam". They function as all-day businesses and meeting places.Here, black coffee is prepared through a cloth filter and food such as Kaya toast (butter toast with coconut-pandan jam) is served with it. Vietnamese coffee is traditionally prepared using a drip "phin" machine and condensed milk is added to the cup.

Coffee in Turkey: preparation as a ritual

"Sweet food, sweet talk. A serious debate belongs with a cup of coffee." these are Turkish sayings. As far as coffee preparation is concerned, both are valid, as the typical style is to drink strong coffee heavily sweetened. The first coffee rituals outside Ethiopia and the surrounding area were performed in the mountainous regions of Yemen. There Sufi mystics drank coffee to induce spiritual states.

In the late 16th century, the first Istanbul coffee houses began to be established for sipping in the ordinary life of earthly beings. Genuine Turkish coffee is always served with a glass of water and something sweet, ideally Turkish "lokum" candy. The preparation of the coffee itself is a traditional ritual of frothing the coffee multiple timesin a jezva over a fire or sand.

Traditional coffee serving in Italy

There has been a sincere respect for coffee in Italy since the 16th century, when Venice became such a gateway for coffee into the lives of the people of Europe. Europe's first coffee house, Caffé Florian in Piazza San Marco, has been in operation since 1720. This is where the tradition of drinking coffee as espresso originated. Subsequently, milk-based coffee drinks with characteristically Italian names: cappuccino, espresso macchiato and others.

Out of a desire to bring the quick preparation of highly concentrated coffee into Italian households, the iconic Moka pot was born. Traditional coffee serving in Italy varies according to the time of day. The first coffee of the day is usually served with milk and sweet pastries. It is usually prepared in a Moka pot. However, Italians never order milk coffee after 11am because this time and in the afternoon belongs to espresso.

Southeast of San Marino is the Marche region, where they serve "caffé anisette" anise-flavored espresso. In Sicily, the traditional "caffé d'u parrinu" or is a coffeewith flavours of cloves, cinnamon and cocoa. Whatever the regional variant, coffee is part of the daily life of Italians.

Coffee in Japan as a cultural drink

You might think that in Japan, tea drinking is much more popular, but coffeeis also a local cultural drink and has been since the 17th century. Back then, coffee was brought to Nagasaki by the Dutch. In the late 19th century, Tsurukichi Nishimura opened Japan's first coffee shop. The traditional preparation is filtered coffee sipped in small sips. This is the concept of "savoring", enjoying coffee with attention paid to its aroma and flavors.

It will come as no surprise, therefore, that the interest of the Japanese is in coffees with exceptional flavour profiles. As well as expensive coffees, such as Jamaica Blue Mountain and other highly prized coffees of the world. Among the techniques for preparing filter coffee, the siphon wins out - the vacuum pot, the preparation of which is a minor ritual in itself.

Every coffee ritual needs choice beans.

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