A well-woven, slightly wistful tale of trying to hold on to one’s cultural identity (in this case, it just happens to include an Ethiopian coffee ceremony) while being far from home. A longish snippet (it’s a longish article and there’s much more):

Both social and spiritual, the so-called Ethiopian coffee ceremony is structure without rigidity, more community than formality: You sit, you talk, you enjoy a drink — a natural progression in a country believed to be the birthplace of a beverage now marketed throughout the world.

In Ethiopia, be it good news or bad, it’s discussed over coffee while incense burns and crackling beans are pan-roasted to a rich, dark brown, then swirled before guests so each can take in the smoky aroma up close. In the most traditional homes, this happens three times a day, beans hand-ground and poured through a jebena’s long, narrow stem into boiling water.

Stories are told, problems addressed, news dished, mourners comforted. Among neighbors, invites are extended and routines fixed: In the morning we have coffee at my house, in the afternoon at their house, in the evening we go to yours.

Now the Cadmus line is anything but Ethiopian, and the family approach to making and sharing coffee offered very little of ceremony save for the Gospel According to Bunn, but our best conversations and our richest laughter have ever been over a cup or three of black coffee.

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