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Top 10 Authentic Ethiopian Drinks

Ethiopian Alcoholic Beverages 1

There are several uniquely Ethiopian Drinks that you should try to experience, whether you have the chance to visit Ethiopia or you are in some other country and happen to find an Ethiopian Restaurant in your locale.

While Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee, there actually several more unique drinks that have only been consumed in Ethiopia until very recently, where Ethiopian Restaurants have made it possible for anyone around the world to experience them as well.

Traditional Alcoholic Ethiopian Drinks

There are several traditional alcoholic drinks that are customarily homemade by using natural ingredients. Here is a list of the most popular and wildly consumed traditional alcoholic beverages in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Drink #1: Tej

Tej, is a potent honey wine or mead that is brewed and widely consumed in much of Ethiopia. It is prepared from honey and a green herb called Gesho, a very important additive in almost all of the alcoholic drinks of Ethiopia. Tej comes in varying degrees of sweetness that deceptively masks the high alcohol content of the drink. It is typically served in a rounded vase-like or beaker-like glass container called a Berele, but if you are new to the drink one Berele may be too much.

Just like any other wine, Tej can be stored for a long time. And just like wine, the longer Tej is stored, the higher the alcohol content, and the stronger the taste.

Ethiopian Drink #2: Tella

Tella is another very popular alcoholic drink that is consumed in most parts of Ethiopia. It is a type of home-brewed beer that is traditionally brewed from the Gesho plant and one of the many grains grown in Ethiopia, usually, barley, maize, Teff, and sorghum. Like with most home-brewed drinks, the alcohol concentrations of Tella vary widely.

Ethiopian Drink #3: Araki

Areki, also known as Katikala, is probably the strongest alcoholic beverage in Ethiopia with an alcohol content of around 45%. It’s made from the leaves of the Gesho plant. Araki is essentially the Ethiopian version of moonshine.

Ethiopian Drink #4: Ethiopian Beer

Just like in any other country, beer is an important part of Ethiopian social life which is continuously growing in popularity, especially in urban areas. Some of the most popular Ethiopian beer brands are St. George, Harar, Meta, Habesha, Bedele, Castel, Walia, Dankira, and Dashen.

Here is a challenge, each time you visit an Ethiopian Restaurant that is located outside of Ethiopia, order one of these beers and let us know which ones you found and which ones you liked in the comment, or post a picture of the beer on social media of your choice with the following hashtag.

#EthiopianBeerChallenge

Ethiopian Drink #5: Ethiopian Wine

Although Ethiopia is not well known for wine, apart from Tej, the traditional honey wine, there has recently been a surge in the consumption of wine in Ethiopia, especially in the major cities such as the capital, Addis Ababa. Some of the better-known brands of wine in Ethiopia are Awash, Gebeta, Axumit, and Castel.

Traditional Non-Alcoholic Ethiopian Drinks

Ethiopia is also home to various traditional non-alcoholic drinks that are made from natural and healthy ingredients. Here are a few of the well-known non-alcoholic drinks.

Ethiopian Drink #6: Kenetto

Kenetto, also known as Keribo, is a non-alcoholic traditional drink that is typically used as a substitute for Tella by those who don’t drink alcohol.

Ethiopian Drink #7: Borde

Borde is a cereal-based traditional fermented beverage famous in the southern parts of Ethiopia.

Non-Alcoholic Brews / Hot Ethiopian Drinks

Ethiopian Drink #8: Buna

Ethiopian Coffee
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Buna is Amharic for coffee, and if you are a coffee lover, you should probably know that coffee originated from Ethiopia. Buna is a revered drink in Ethiopia that is an integral part of social life in the country. It is also very important to the Ethiopian economy as it is a major source of foreign exchange and a source of income for around 15% of the population.

Learn more about the origins of Coffee here.

You can also learn more about the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony here.

Ethiopian Drink #9: Shai

Shai is Amharic for tea and is the second most preferred hot drink in Ethiopia next to Buna. It is also quite popular among Muslim communities in the lowlands of Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Drink #10: Atmit

Atmit is mostly used as a comfort drink for mothers with newly born babies and, sometimes people with the flu. However, some people who enjoy the taste and smooth texture of the drink also enjoy it once in a while. Atmit is made out of barley and oat flour mixed with water, sugar, and Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian clarified butter), cooked until it reaches a slightly thick consistency.

 

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