post Traditional Beverages

July 20th, 2008

Filed under: Life Style — Lissan Magazine @ 21:47

Traditional Alcoholic Beverages from Ethiopia

Talla is an Ethiopian home-brewed beer which differs from the others in some respects. First it is brewed with barley or wheat, hops, or spices. Secondly, it has a smoky flavour due to the addition of bread darkened by baking and use of a fermentation vessel which has been smoked by inversion over smoldering wood. Talla is not processed under government regulations hence the alcohol content varies but is usually around 2% to 4%. Filtered tella has a higher alcohol content ranging from 5% to 6%.


Tej (indigenous honey wine) is a home-processed, but also commercially available honey wine. It is prepared from honey, water and leaves of Gesho. Sometimes, widely for commercial purposes, mixture of honey and sugar could be used for its preparation. In cases where sugar is used as part of the substrate, natural food colouring is added so that the beverage attains a yellow colour similar to that made from honey. Good quality tej is yellow, sweet, effervescent and cloudy due to the content of yeasts. A study found that the mean alcohol content of tej was between 6.98% and 10.9%.8 Another study found that the average alcohol content of tej was 6.07%.

Korefe is the name of the local beer made in Begemder Province among the Koumant ethnic group. Dehusked barley is left in water overnight, and after that toasted and milled. It is mixed with water and dried gesho leaves, and fermented in a clay container for two to three months. When the beverage is needed, a small quantity of the mixture is taken, more water is added and after a day’s fermentation the beverage is ready for consumption. Shamit is the local beer made among the Gurage ethnic group. Tef, kita and germinated barley (bekel) are milled and mixed with water, and the mixture is sieved after three to four days of fermentation. Dehusked barley is toasted on the mitad, milled and added to the mixture, and the beverage is ready to serve the next day, when Ethiopian cardamom, mitmitta, black cummin and bishop’s weed are added.

Araki is a distilled beverage. Ground gesho leaves and water are kept for three to four days and after that a kita made of teff or other cereals and germinated barley or wheat are added. The mixture is allowed to ferment for five to six days and then distilled. In the villages distillation is carried out with primitive equipment made of gourds and wood. The local beer tella can also be distilled to produce araqe. The araki can be redistilled and will then have a higher alcohol content. The average alcohol content of dagim araki is around 45%. The term dagim in Amharic refers to ‘second time’ and indicates that it is distilled a second time. Araki is brewed in rural and semi-urban areas and is used more commonly by farmers and semi-urban dwellers than by people who live in the cities. In cities, those who drink araki are predominantly lower class people or those who have become dependent upon alcohol and cannot afford to buy industrially produced alcohol. Since the government has no control over production of locally brewed alcoholic drinks, it is difficult to estimate the amount of alcohol production and consumption in Ethiopia.

Other alcoholic beverages to be found are borde (local beer) and katikala (a homemade distilled drink from maize or millet).




  1. please provide me better information about tella, its nutritive value,its by product(attella) in supporting animal growth. nutrient composition of attella

    Comment by yilkal — 28. December 2009 @ 15:19

  2. i am a student in haramaya university.

    Comment by yilkal — 14. January 2010 @ 18:42

  3. dear sir/madam
    It is my pleasure if u can send me an information on preparation of the specified alcoholic beverages( steps, time taken for each step) and other necessary information.
    thank u in advance
    sincerely urs

    Comment by awraris derbie — 15. October 2010 @ 14:08

  4. Most traditional beverages not include (e.g brez,kinto etc)so try add some information about those terms.Don.t miss steps and favorable conditions of the product. from Hawassa Univrsity sincerely

    Comment by Belachew — 3. January 2011 @ 15:17

  5. Dear Belachew, thank You for the comment. We also have an article on traditional beverages under this link:

    Please feel free to send us information on those beverages you mentioned (brez and kinto). Most of our articles are contributions. You are also welcome to take part.

    The Lissan Team

    Comment by Lissan Magazine — 3. January 2011 @ 17:08


    Comment by SOLOMON TAMRAT — 31. March 2011 @ 14:07

  7. i want to u send some traditional alcolic beveage

    Comment by adane — 12. June 2011 @ 19:40

  8. how are you Lissans?
    i am a student in adama university.could you give me an information about how to produce local cheese,the equipments used,limitation of the production process and the commercial values(packaging selection).

    thank you very much

    Comment by kiros berhane — 3. July 2011 @ 22:43

  9. I have a project on alcoholic beverages in Ethiopia but i didn’t get enough information on it. please, give more information.

    Comment by Lea — 30. October 2011 @ 14:38

  10. if you have some data about the other traditional beverages making procedure and their differences please forward it.

    Comment by Ayalew Debebe — 7. April 2012 @ 09:14

  11. The following information may help some.

    1. A review on the microbiology of Indigenous fermented foods and beverages of Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Biological Sciences 5, 189-245. (2006).

    2. The microbiology of Ethiopian foods and beverages: A review. SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science 25, 97-140. (2002).

    3. Yeast and lactic acid flora of ‘tej’, an indigenous Ethiopian honey wine: variations within and between production units. Food Microbiology 23, 277-282. (2006).

    4. Chemical and nutritional properties of ‘tej’, an indigenous Ethiopian honey wine: variations within and between production units. Journal of Food Technology in Africa. 6, 104-108. (2001).

    5. Microbiology of the fermentation of shamita, a traditional Ethiopian fermented beverage. SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science 22, 89-102. (1999).

    6. The microbial dynamics of borde ermentation, a traditional Ethiopian fermented beverage. SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science 21, 195-205. (1998).

    7. Antagonism of lactic acid bacteria against foodborne pathogens during fermentation and storage of borde and shamita, traditional Ethiopian fermented beverages. International Food Research Journal 18, 1135-1140. 2011.

    8. Survival of E. coli O157:H7, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella flexneri and Salmonella spp. in Borde and Shamita, traditional Ethiopian fermented beverages. Ethiopian Journal of Biological Sciences 6, 1-10. (2007).

    Comment by Ewqet — 9. January 2013 @ 14:07

  12. Thank you Ewqet for this great reference contribution. We will follow your suggestion and go through your recommendations.

    Comment by Lissan Magazine — 9. January 2013 @ 15:51

  13. i wonder you if you give more information(steps,times for processing,nutritional value and contents,and ingredients)of korefe.

    Comment by nigus tadesse — 4. November 2013 @ 13:08


    Comment by KENATE — 11. March 2014 @ 10:00

  15. it is very more

    Comment by bewuketu abebe — 19. March 2014 @ 12:49

  16. give more steps on how to prepare katikala

    Comment by yael — 23. November 2014 @ 17:09

  17. currently i am attending my post graduate program( master) in jimma university. so my instructor commanded me to prepare certain material on Ethiopian tej especially with regard to policy initiation. but now i couldnot able to get a document on it. so please please please would you share me any document done on tej.
    any coopration will be highly appreciated
    many thanks

    Comment by mohammed — 14. April 2015 @ 08:55

  18. i what to manufacture tej. during manufacturing how
    i can make yellow color

    Comment by temesgen — 29. May 2015 @ 16:22

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