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Coffee Culture Is All About Sharing in Ethiopia

The bunna ceremony gives coffee beans the respect they deserve

As the driving force behind Ethiopia’s economy as well as a pillar of its culture, coffee plays an integral role in Ethiopian identity. It's no surprise that immigrants to America from the East African nation turn to the drink — and the rituals that surround it — when in need of a taste of home.

In today's episode of Cooking in America, host Pelin Keskin visits Bunna Cafe, an Ethiopian restaurant and coffee house in Bushwick, Brooklyn named for the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Bunna follows coffee preparation from bean washing to pan-roasting, and even involves a step where every participant stops to smell the blackened beans. It's a practice built around community, and is meant to be shared with neighbors, family, and friends.

At Bunna Cafe, Keskin meets with chef Kedega Srage over a plate of injera to learn about how facilitating coffee ceremonies helps Srage maintain a strong connection to her native country, a place she always keeps in her prayers.

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