‘If this is coffee, then please-bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee’

.~Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Anyone who followed my original blog that was disbanded earlier this year may remember a few posts I created about coffee in Ethiopia. I have been asked by a couple of people to add some of these photographs to this blog and as I am going to India in a week (and intend to drink a few cuppas there) thought it was a good opportunity to revisit the archives and add some photographs that were not previously posted. I am a ‘tea person’ rather than a coffee person but both drinks are great global unifiers. Tea and coffee drinking also often comes with ceremony and ritual that in our own societies we ignore but in foreign lands help us gain a glimpse of what it means to be human in a new place. For me to take tea or coffee with a stranger is a great way to make a new friend.



One common Ethiopian coffee saying is “Buna dabo naw.” This literally translates to “Coffee is our bread.”

Fantya is a local expert at coffee making the traditional way. Here she takes the beans and grinds them.

Fantya roasts the coffee beans in Debre Sina:
‘Only one thing is certain about coffee…. Wherever it is grown, sold, brewed, and consumed, there will be lively controversy, strong opinions, and good conversation.’ ~Mark Pendergrast

‘Good coffee may come from Arabia or India, from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, or via France with an admixture of chicory; but its flavor and excellence will be derived from daily careful roasting and grinding, a truism universally admitted and habitually disregarded.’ ~Lady Jekyll, D.B.E.

‘Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.’ ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Often coffee drinking comes with ritual and ceremony. As the coffee comes to the boil the area is prepared with burning insense and the sweet smell of herbs and spices.

‘Black coffee must be strong and very hot; if strong coffee does not agree with you, do not drink black coffee. And if you do not drink black coffee, do not drink any coffee at all.’ ~Andre Simon

‘The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.’ ~Oliver Wendall Holmes, Sr.

Sharing coffee with friends: A universal truth!

This weary photographer was very thankful to Fantya for her morning cup of coffee and for being patient with her photo taking.