A white (faranje) adoptive mother to two Ethiopian (habesha) girls wends her way through
Exotic Ethiopian Cooking by D. J. Mesfin

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yebunna T'ej (Coffee-Flavored Honey Wine), part II

The honey/water/yeast mixture has been sitting in the kitchen for three days, and the house has had a delicate aroma of honey and bread.  

this is what it looks like after sitting for 3 days

Today was the day I was to move onto the next step, the addition of the woody hops (gesho).  There are two forms of gesho: gesho inchet (the sticks) and gesho kitel (the leaves).  It seems that each has its own character and, therefore, imparts a different character to the t'ej, though I also found recipes that called for both.  Since the book didn't specifically mention which form to use, I decided to go with both.  

gesho inchet

gesho kitel

I measured out a small portion of the brew into a separate saucepan, then added the gesho:

appetizing, no?
stirring it did not really improve the visual

From here, it was just a matter of bringing it to a boil and letting it simmer for a bit.

It may be worth offering a confession here: I don't drink.  I usually don't even like the smell of alcoholic beverages, especially beer (my daughters, on the other hand, are always keen for a sniff of whatever beer Daddy's drinking; his goal is to raise a couple of beer snobs).  So I was quite surprised by how good this smelled bubbling away.  Probably because it's twigs and leaves, it's very earthy (albeit I keep thinking there's the faintest undertone of cannabis) and there's none of the hoppiness that I associate with beer.  I can't say it smells like something I'm hankering to drink, but it's much more pleasant than I thought it would be.  

after simmering

After it cooled, I added it to the mixture that wasn't heated:

Now I let it sit for another 5 days before moving on to the next step!  Though it'll have to be 6 days, because I have to go to Rochester, NY for work and will be flying back next Wednesday night.  

I also got another shipment of ingredients in from Brundo and have two more recipes waiting to be made!


  1. Intriguing. Do you add coffee at some point? Or do the other ingredients just suggest coffee flavor?

    I don't like beer either. But meads are nice, especially if they're not too sweet.

  2. I do add coffee a couple of steps or so down the line. A whole pound of it! I have to figure out how I'm going to do it, because I have a carboy with a very narrow neck. Didn't think that one through properly!