Ethiopia is considered to be the birthplace of the coffee plant and of coffee culture. It is thought that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia as long ago as the ninth century. Today, over 12 million people in Ethiopia are involved in the cultivation and picking of coffee, and coffee remains a central part of Ethiopian culture.
Ethiopian Coffee Expressions
Perhaps one of the clearest reflections of coffee’s role in Ethiopian culture is in its language. Coffee plays such a heavily ingrained role in Ethiopian culture that it appears in many expressions dealing with life, food and interpersonal relationships.
One common Ethiopian coffee saying is “Buna dabo naw”. This literally translates to “Coffee is our bread”. It demonstrates the central role that coffee plays in terms of diet and illustrates the level of importance placed on it as a source of sustenance.
Another common saying is “Buna Tetu”. This is an Amharic phrase that literally means “Drink coffee”. It applies not only to the act of drinking coffee but also to socializing (much like the way people use the phrase “meet for coffee” in English).