Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Abyssinia Coffee House, Gaborone’s haven for coffee connoisseurs

There is a lot that goes on at Riverwalk in Gaborone, a favourite shopping mall to many.

So what caught my eye though, or shall I say nose?

Well…words won’t do justice but it was such a distinctive smell of authentic coffee and food, a particular brew and cuisine at that, found only inside Abyssinia Coffee House.

Pulled in by this exotic aroma, I had to go inside this haven, exclusively tucked just around the corner from Liquorama, and dig even deeper.

My navigator for the day was Abyssinia Coffee House owner, Mr Berhane Asgodom, whose passion is evidently as rich as the coffee and food he makes daily.

For starters, I was diligently taken back to the time when coffee was first discovered on his very own Ethiopian soil, and explained how it has formed an integral part of his culture for centuries.
His knowledge and love for this peculiar beverage naturally inspired him to open up a coffee house and name it after the biblical Abyssinia, as Ethiopia was called in those days.

The center of our discussion became the main stages of his coffee production; organic growth, careful harvest, thorough roast and, last but by no means least, grounding, and the delectable Ethiopian he serves alongside.

Mr Asgodom imports his fresh coffee beans, green in colour and fresh in smell, from Ethiopia.
The beans are of a plant called Coffea Arabica, I am informed.

He highlighted that Ethiopia is the one place on earth where you can find this plant as organically grown as possible.

He added that, by virtue of the plant being indigenous to the region, the climate is very compatible to its most organic growth.

This plant apparently grows into a large bush and its beans contain caffeine. Every day a dedicated team of workers harvests only mature beans one by one until there is enough to export. He then continues the process inside his coffee house, carefully roasting them in his state of the art custom made coffee machine, which looks something like a steam engine!

Once roasted from green to a rich chocolate brown colour, a stage that takes about two hours to complete, the beans are then taken into yet another machine for grounding.

“I pay particular attention to the whole process as I have to get the coffee to the right taste, texture, colour and aroma; for this reason I have to allow all my natural senses to work for me!” exclaimed Berhane. “I am also an expert at roasting my coffee the Italian way; light brown and smooth taste, and the Arabic way; light but not too smooth.”

The result of this whole journey of coffee production is an absolutely perfect cup of coffee served only at Abyssinia Coffee House, which, after having one, keeps you asking for more! Mind you, coffee is generally praised for its ability to keep us awake and give us that extra boost when we need to concentrate.

Mr Asgodom brought it to my attention though that I would, however, be doing my readers a grave disservice if I did not reveal that coffee has its dark secrets, and emphasised the caution and responsibility that one needs to exercise when indulging. Please enjoy it responsibly.

As much as the name talks only of coffee, Abyssinia Coffee House also specialises in some serious mouth watering Ethiopian Cuisine.

Fortunately, I walked in right in time to observe a very fascinating process of preparing their traditional bread, better known as Teff.

This type of fresh bread gets its name from the flour which is used to bake it, said to be extracted from Teff grain. What is so fascinating about this type of bread is the fact that it takes five days to ferment and, better still, the raising agent is what they call the Bihic or Litt, which is the liquid that was formed and kept from previous dough.

When this dough hits the oven five days later, it gives another aroma apart from that of coffee, which is also good enough to die for!

Every Friday evening at 7pm, Abyssinia Coffee House proudly hosts what could pass as an Ethiopian cuisine festival dinner.

During this dinner, they showcase the most delicious food and coffee from Ethiopia, served Ethiopian style at very affordable prices to be enjoyed by families, couples or individuals from all walks of life.

This dinner is specially crafted to expose anyone, fortunate enough to get the opportunity, to the very best of what Ethiopia has to offer in terms of food and beverages.

Abyssinia goes all out to instill Ethiopian etiquette by following all that there is in the way they eat and drink. For the ambiance at Abyssinia Coffee House, a trip to Riverwalk one of these days is a must do!

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