Nunu’s Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Posted on May 29, 2011


Given my very minute exposure to Ethiopian cuisine, I missed out on what is the most anticipated event in an Ethiopian meal – the coffee ceremony.  Coffee, having historically started from Ethiopia, is a central part of Ethiopian hospitality.   Just imagine me learning it belatedly, wincing as I read each word on the article I googled.  I missed out on an experience!  I mentioned this oversight to my friend Steve.  He was not so hard to convince to go back there once again.  YAY to friends who are still not tired to eat with a food blogger…lol. :)

I came back to Nunu’s (1178 Queen Street West) with my friends Steve, Manivillie and Jojo.  Like the last time, we indulged in injera and a variety of stewed meats that comes along with the menu item, Misto Meat  (  My mistake was I took a washroom break to wash my hands after that hearty meal.  While wiping my hands, I suddenly have this waft of coffee aroma reach me and I hurried back to the table, hoping I would make it back in time.  My friends all looked at me forlornly and broke it to me gently that I missed the show.   I probably looked so heartbroken, as they took turns comforting me.  Steve telling me the best one, suggesting me missing out on the coffee ceremony would give us the best excuse to come to this restaurant once again.

Amidst all the laughing and comforting going on our table, the owner probably overheard our friendly banter.  He gave me the best surprise, approaching me with a seemingly big ladle with toasted coffee beans.  Amidst that unmistakable inviting aroma of roasted coffee,  he tells me this repeat performance was for me especially so I don’t feel so left out.  What customer service!  I was totally elated of how a wrong can be made something even better.

Another woman comes back to our table a few minutes later, bringing coffee in an exotic pot, little ceramic cups and incense on the same tray.  I watched her pour the coffee in little ceramic cups and I got my share.  The coffee was rich, its deep flavor resonating until the last sip .  For a while there, I sat comforted and content.  It was the perfect end to a very good meal with friends.

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