Tebabu Assefa & Sara Mussie
2014-15 Folklife Apprenticeship Award recipient
Ethiopian natives Tebabu Assefa and his wife and partner, Sara Mussie, are dedicated to keeping the Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony alive. Washington, D.C., and vicinity are home to the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia, and Ethiopian music, arts, and foodways can be found throughout the area. Integral to Ethiopian cultural and social life is the ceremony that is conducted around the roasting, brewing, and drinking of coffee. Coffee is said to have originated in Ethiopia. Far from the quick cup you might grab at the local coffee franchise, the Ethiopian coffee ceremony lingers for an hour or more and is meant to be a communal experience shared with family and friends. A beautiful and ornate process, the ceremony encourages those involved to focus their attention on the smell, look, and taste of the beans. Guests typically drink three rounds of fragrant, sweet coffee.
Tebabu and Sara own Blessed Coffee, one of the first Benefit Corporations in Maryland; it shares its profits with Ethiopian coffee pickers and community organizations in Takoma Park. They will be presenting three 90-minute traditional coffee ceremonies daily (including roasting and serving).