Customers will be able to find pre-roasted coffee for their homes, as well as an array of different Ethiopian goods, at Balageru Ethiopian grocery store right next door to Abugida Café.

By Ryan Pitkin (Creative Loafing) |

To see Shito Negussie emerge from the back of Abugida Ethiopian Café in a flowing, pink and white traditional Ethiopian dress — called a habesha kemis — before sitting down in front of 18 empty coffee cups, a basket of popcorn, a jebena in which to brew and pour the coffee and a bowl of burning incense is to realize you’re not at Starbucks anymore.

To taste the results is only to confirm that fact.

At least once a day, Shito Negussie or someone at the café goes through the traditional process of brewing Ethiopian coffee, which starts with something you’re not likely to find at any corporate chain or local coffee shop in town: green, pre-roasted coffee beans.

Yodite Tesfaye, Shito’s daughter, was taken aback when she moved to the United States and realized that nobody used pre-roasted coffee.

“I noticed that,” Yodite says. “I went to a coffee shop and this lady had never seen coffee without being roasted. I was so shocked.”

Yodite, who runs Abugida Café with her mother and younger brother, Zemas, has lived here for nearly two decades, and now when she returns to Ethiopia to visit, she notices the roasted coffee trend popping up there, as well.

“Back home, now when I go back, I see coffee roasted and being sold,” she says. “But before, you never saw coffee that was pre-roasted. You go to corner stores and they just sell the fresh coffee, never roasted coffee. Now I went back and I see packs of roasted coffee and I’m like, ‘Things change.'”

Soon, however, customers will be able to find pre-roasted coffee for their homes, as well as an array of different Ethiopian goods, when Yodite’s older sister, Roza Tesfaye, opens Balageru Ethiopian grocery store with her husband right next door to Abugida Café.


Continue reading this story at Creative Loafing Charlotte
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