Bula has depicted that coffee is used among Oromo as traditional medicine, food, and beverage. It is also a core part of almost every daily ritual practice in the society. Oromo people have been utilizing coffee from time immemorial, and the art of preparing coffee is a central element in their every-day cultural practices and ritual performances.
Bartels indicate that people believe whenever the coffee ceremony occurs Waaqa comes nearer to them; hence coffee is a crucial component in every ceremony and any occasion associated with coffee is ceremonial.
The coffee ceremony is a forum for social networking and it is where elders pass onto their children the norms and values of the society that sustain social identity of the group members. It is also referred to as a school of socialization because it is during this occasion that the youths are told proverbs, stories, as well as thoughts, customs, and norms of the community.
Significances of Coffee among the Oromo: An Overview Coffee is deep-rooted in the philosophy and rituals of the Oromo. Every ritual in Oromo is accompanied by coffee. Thus, coffee is entrenched in the rituals and oral literature of the Oromo. Its usage is in various forms and it is used in different cultural practices. Coffee holds central significance from different perspectives. In Oromo, coffee is used to cure various diseases. For amoeba, people use the grinded coffee powder by mixing with honey which immediately stop diarrhea. Roasted coffee bean or a boiled coffee is effective remedy of headache. Coffee powder is used to stop bleeding if added on wound. The bud of coffee leaf is an effective treatment of evil eye. Beside this, coffee is among items to be presented on Oromo rituals as a symbol of peace, blessing and fertility. Hence, beside its economic and political significances, the cultural importance of coffee is multifaceted.
Procedures of Coffee Ceremony Coffee
Procedures of Coffee Ceremony Coffee is deep-rooted in cosmology of the Oromo nation. That is why coffee is inevitable in all rituals and cultural practices of the people. Among the Oromo, coffee ceremony, the ritualized form of making and drinking coffee, is a practiced every day. The following is procedures of preparing coffee ceremony among the Macha
Oromo of Jimma zone:
First of all the woman who is entitled to prepare coffee clean her house and prepare all necessary equipments needed for the ceremony. The materials needed for coffee ceremony are jabanaa (clay coffee pot), grass, pestle, wooden mortar, incense, water and coffee cups. After that, she bath her body especially if she is married.. Next to that, coffee beans are sorted. For making coffee the dried coffee berries are beaten to separate its coat from the beans. Litting fire and putting coffee pot on fire follows.
The coffee beans used for coffee ceremony are always avidly washed by hand three, five or seven times like blessing which follows odd numbers; it is often washed seven times before roasting. This is done for the taste of coffee depend on the extent to which it is washed. Women roast the coffee beans over a flat pan on fire. This brings rich aroma coupled with the fragrance of incense and myrrh that is always burned during the ceremony. When the coffee beans are turned into deep brown and shining, they are passed around the rooms so that the attendants smell. The host woman shakes the roasting pan back and forth so that the beans would not burn.
One of the most important parts of coffee ceremony is when the aroma of roasted coffee fills the air and attendants smell freshly. When the smokes of roasted coffee infuse in the air, the attendants say nagaa nuu kenni literally meaning „give us peace‟ all together. Roasting continues until it becomes a deep brown. After careful pounding using a wooden mortar and pestle, the powder are added into boiled water to be brewed in a jabanaa (clay coffee pot).
The pounded coffee is then put into a Jabanaa with the help of leaf of enset to keep coffee powder directly poured into it. Jabanaa is usually made of pottery and has a spherical base, a neck, pouring spout and a handle where the neck connects with the base. When the coffee boils up, it is taken from the fire and put for minutes until it cool down. One of the best ways to know how coffee is boiled is looking its evaporation and odor; this time, it gives a pleasing aroma. An invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship and respect and is an excellent example of social generosity and neighborhood. Performing the ceremony is almost obligatory in the presence of neighbors.
When all the expected attendants arrive, senior elders bless to herald the ceremony and make communication with their creator. Children attending the ceremony kiss the hands of elders who are considered as sacred in the society to receive their blessing. Next to that, breakfast is offered to the participants and the first cup of coffee is libated in search of fertility and abundance. It is also performed to thank their creator who helped them leading their life. Snack, which is always qixxaa (bread from maize), akaayii (roasted grains or pulse), danfisaa/Mulluu (grains put in hot water to boil), soottoo and other kinds of available food, is presented to all the attendants. Snack on coffee ceremony especially for morning coffee is mandatory because it is used as breakfast. The society believes that if one reaches at a coffee ceremony with good snack, it is a sign of good luck. To show the significance of snack on coffee ceremony, the society says “bunni qursii hin qabne dubbii qurxii hin qabne” meaning “coffee without snack is similar with a dialogue without conclusion”. After that, coffee is poured into cup and distributed to the attendants by children following seniority. The remnant is used for the second round coffee by adding water. Second round coffee is not filled into cup like the first cup of coffee. It serves as remain for late comers. The society says “rajaa dhugan haajaan baati” to mean “one succeeds in his/her deed if he/she drink residue/dregs of coffee”. The route of dregs are also seen by experts to foresee the fate of individuals. The attendants say “bunaafi nagaa hin dhabinaa; akka bunaa urgaa’aa; akka dammaa mi’aawaa” meaning “may you not lack coffee and peace”, “be aromatic like coffee and “be sweet like honey” respectively. The participants wish the best day and go to their daily chores.