Grade 2 Students Participate in Eritrean Coffee Ceremony

Grade 2 Students Participate in Eritrean Coffee Ceremony

Grade 2 students participated in a traditional coffee ceremony with the family of King Student Zerai Asefaw ’32, whose heritage is from Eritrea. Zerai’s grandmother, Neghesty Negusse, was joined by Zerai’s father, Dr. Senai Asefaw P’32, to demonstrate each step of the coffee ceremony process, starting with roasting the coffee beans on an open fire until darkened. 

Students learned the process of roasting, grinding, and boiling the coffee beans. They also learned to strain the coffee into a jebena, a traditional Eritrean coffee pot made of pottery. Zerai’s grandmother explained that Eritrean hosts typically offer milk and sugar to their guests and serve the coffee in their finest drinkware.   

The students observed the coffee ceremony in fascination, asking questions to learn more about the tradition. Grade 2 student Evan Krasnor ’31 asked, “What kinds of food are served at the coffee ceremony?” Negusse was delighted to share that the coffee is commonly coupled with Himbasha, a sweet Eritrean celebration bread. Students learned that the coffee is also commonly served with peanuts, dates, or popcorn with raisins.

Zerai’s father, Dr. Senai Asefaw P’32, explained that each ceremony usually has about three rounds of coffee to facilitate quality time. “It’s really all about spending time with your friends and your family,” he said. Negusse added, “our tradition takes pride in treating others with respect. This is why we welcome our guests, and we share with them everything that we have.” 

Grade 2 faculty Emily Decker gleefully thanked the family for sharing their cultural traditions with the classroom. She gleamed, “thank you so much for your time. This has been fabulous! We have been talking a lot about what it means to be global citizens, and I really think that this generation will be in touch with people from all over the world.”

Grade 2 Students Participate in Eritrean Coffee Ceremony