Millete Birhanemaskel of Whittier Café thought Ethiopian coffee ceremony on Sunday afternoons would be a unique way to bring the neighborhood together while educating folks about the origin of coffee.

By Ama Arthur-Asmah (KUSA) |

Sunday afternoons at Whittier Café in Denver, Colorado are rarely quiet.

Two and a half years ago, Millete Birhanemaskel opened Whittier Café in North Denver. She decided to create a spot where people from all walks of life could blend together.

“You can come in at any time and find a nice cross section of the community here,” Birhanemaskel said.

“The coffee shop went through so many transitions before we moved in, and the community has always loved this spot, but I think they felt disconnected, so we named it Whittier after the neighborhood just to give it back…to the neighborhood.”

One day Birhanemaskel, who is Ethiopian, decided to start doing a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony on Sunday afternoons.

She thought it would be a unique way to bring the neighborhood together while educating folks about the origin of coffee.

ALSO READ: The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony in America

“It surprises me that people don’t know that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia,” Birhanemaskel said. “And it’s so much a part of our lives in America, but we don’t know that very small simple thing.”

The ceremony is very popular at the café among regulars like Dawn Crosswhite.

“When I found out about this ceremony, I was in heaven,” Crosswhite said.

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