‘Maji Coffee’ is a blender and roaster of Ethiopia’s exotically diverse beans. The word ‘Maji’ is the name of the very first place where coffee became interwoven with human’s social life, thousands of years ago. ‘Maji’ is located in the ‘Kaffa’ zone of Southern Ethiopia. Etymologists tell us the word ‘coffee’ is derived from ‘Kaffa.’
Throughout the ages, the birthplace of coffee managed to refine the preparation and particularly the serving of coffee to an art form. Coffee drinking in Ethiopia is a communal ritual. It takes place in every neighborhood and village on a daily basis. The coffee drinking ceremony brings together people from all walks of lives and serves as an open forum for discussions. The conversations range from the usual frivolous gossiping, to more weighty matters concerning the community and beyond. This daily coffee routine has helped solidify organic links that already exist between and within living communities. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony excludes no one; poor or rich, young or old, women or men, resident or passerby, Moslem or Christian, etc. All and sundry come together around the boiling coffee pot, strategically placed at the front entrance of the host’s house (or front yard) to attract people. The coffee drinking ceremony is a colorful, yet humble event. The coffee gathering allows people to chat, converse, engage and even crack jokes while sipping the freely available coffee that can easily go up to three servings/rounds. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is an institution on its own right and is a voluntary and rotating affair. There is hardly anyone in a village who cannot afford to extend a coffee invitation to neighbors, at least in thos ‘good old’ days.
Critically speaking, this unpretentious daily routine of Ethiopian life is one of the last remnants of traditional space whose warmly enveloping environment, in a matter-of-factly manner, still brings diverse people together with the implied intention of sharing experience, deepening tolerance and building understanding. As the larger human community progressively rethinks its priorities and gradually moves towards the appreciation of simpler things in life, Ethiopia’ coffee drinking ceremony is bound to remain one of the major pillars of harmonious social practices. Unfortunately and up to now, such collective non-confrontational (don’t forget it is the women who are always the final arbiter in these occasions) social interactions have been violently neglected by modernity and its soul sapping techno-sphere. Therefore and unsurprisingly, Ethiopia’s traditional coffee ceremony is increasingly becoming popular in our world system.