When my next door neighbour from Sudan got a new born baby boy, a visit was made to congratulate the parents.
What followed after the visit was not just wonderful but amusing too.
Coffee was served!
Coffee preparation is an art in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Coffee preparation for guests is a ritual affair, with various spices added to the clay pot in which it is brewed.
The stove with lit charcoals was bought to the living room and coffee beans are first freshly roasted over the small fire. The beans are then crushed by hand in a mortar and pestle. The pots used to make/serve the prepared coffee are of clay with a long neck and spout – the traditional jebenas, as they are called.
The beans are put in the clay container, together with spices, usually a few cardamom pods and some pepper. This is then slowly brewed by the side of the fire – and when done, is poured over a sieve. As the room is filled with the lovely aroma of fresh coffee, the smoke from Frankincense burned rose up creating a magical atmosphere.
Very small cups are then placed on a tray – the cups, too, are traditionally round, small and cute. Coffee cups on the tray are then passed around.
The baby was still asleep.