If you’ve ever been over to the Taxi Building off of Ringsby Court then hopefully you stopped off at Comal to get a bite to eat. Comal is a heritage food incubator which serves delicious, traditional foods from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures. Right before the Christmas holiday the folks at Comal started a new service, a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.
I walk through the doors to Comal and my senses are immediately overtaken by the smell of incense. Not just any incense but one that transports me back to my childhood. The thick, sweet smell permeates the restaurant when I spot Sara Gebre. Sara is originally from Ethiopia. When she was around nine-years-old her mother started to teach her how to make coffee. In Ethiopia, coffee is serious business. It’s served three times a day and is a way to stay up on current events, catch up on news from the neighborhood and socialize in general.
Sara greets me with a smile as I sit at one of the long, communal tables at Comal. Soon after she brings over a tray of piping hot coffee, a small bowl of popcorn, an even smaller bowl of barley and peanuts, a plate of vegan cookies and an burner full of incense. We talk as she pours the coffee. The slightly bitter, thick and rich liquid steams from my cup reminding me of a Turkish variety I used to drink years ago. The cup is soon gone and gone too soon. I want another but will wait for my next visit.