Sometimes, it is the everyday, yet unexpected, luxuries that seem the most indulgent. Like the practice of sharing coffee with friends, for example. That is a luxury of time. It is a luxury that you give to yourself and to your friends. It is about being in the moment, and being there for the ones who love and support you. Time is such a precious commodity these days, sometimes it is hard to remember to give yourself that luxury.
Because we consider our time to be luxury, when we do spend it with the ones we love, we should honor it. Respect it. In fact, it deserves it own special ceremony. It is a reason to celebrate.
On a recent trip to the City Market, I decided to start my day of exploration with a wonderful platter of Ethiopian food from Blue Nile Cafe. I'm telling you, if you have not tried: 1) Ethiopian food or 2) eating with your fingers, using just injera bread to pick up and eat your food . . .you have not been living right.
When you go, be sure to order one of their platters to sample many different Ethiopian dishes they have to offer. The platters are $20-$25 and feeds 2-4 people. A tip: do not forget to eat the piece of injera bread directly under the food. It sits like a sponge and soaks up all of the delicious sauces and juices of each dish. It is the most prized part of this dish. Do not miss it.
Looking on the menu, I noticed the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony for $15, which serves 2-5 people. You have to order it with your food, as it takes time to prepare it. Meaning they hand roast your beans in the back before grinding them up to prepare them for your fresh coffee. I wondered what the "ceremony" looked like and tasted like so I ordered it on whim. (See video above for visual, of the condensed ceremony.)
That's when I noticed a large table of good looking African-American men sitting across the room from me. They looked like they were all of Ethiopian descent and they had just started their coffee ceremony. They were speaking a language I did not recognize. It was with great interest that I watched them enjoying the coffee ceremony, and then sharing the cups of coffee once it had been properly brewed in front of them table-side. I also noted that they were all men, chatting over coffee. It seemed like they were all performing some sort of familiar ritual. They were bonding.
I looked up "Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony" online and I found this great article that explained the purpose and history of the coffee ceremony:
"Ethiopia's coffee ceremony is an integral part of their social and cultural life. An invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship or respect and is an excellent example of Ethiopian hospitality. Performing the ceremony is almost obligatory in the presence of a visitor, whatever the time of day. Don't be in a hurry though - this special ceremony can take a few hours. So sit back and enjoy because it is most definitely not instant."
Considering that nearly 2/3 of Ethiopia's earnings is dependent on growing, picking and selling some of the finest coffee beans in the world, it makes sense that so much emphasis is placed on the ceremony of drinking the very thing that most of them earn their living from producing.
This process does take time. From the time they come and set up your coffee to brew, to the time it takes you to actually drink it, is about an hour. But the novelty and time, not to mention a simply terrific cup of coffee, is a luxury you should not deny yourself at the Blue Nile Cafe.
After, I enjoyed my Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, I stumbled out into the City Market so late in the afternoon that I had missed most of the good stuff, and people were starting to pack things back into their vans to go home. I shopped the permanent stalls, and picked up a few things here and there, buzzed on coffee, but feeling no remorse over the time I spent . . .on myself.
When was the last time you took the time for a little ceremony?