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Ethiopian Coffee Expressions

July 6, 2016

Buna dabo naw is a very commonly used Ethiopian phrase, which literally means Coffee is our bread. This simple term is testament to how coffee plays an integral part in the Ethiopian culture. 


The most apparent reflections of the role of coffee in the Ethiopian culture is in its language. Coffee plays a significant role in Ethiopian culture that it appears in many expressions related to life, food and relationships.

Buna Tetu, is another common saying, this is an Amharic phrase that literally means Drink coffee. What's interesting about this phrase is that it not only applies to the act of drinking coffee, but also socializing. When you say Buna Tetu you're actually saying Meet for Coffee.

Another interesting one is If one says, I do not have anyone to have coffee with, it is not taken literally, but assumed to mean that the person does not have good friends in whom they can confide. This relates closely to the enormous social role that coffee consumption plays in Ethiopia. People often gather over coffee for conversations ranging from world/social issues to gossips.

If you hear someone say, Do no€™t let your name get noticed at coffee time, they mean that you should watch out for your reputation and avoid becoming the topic of negative gossip. 


Try some of this phrases the next time you are in the company of Ethiopians, till then Buna Tetu?

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