My Buna Time in 2022

Noah Tesfaye
3 min readJun 26, 2022

I don’t think I consumed a healthy level of caffeine the last two days.

I was at the Chicago Coffee Fest the last two days for one of my jobs, and I couldn’t help but think about how little brain focus I had from being around coffee for seven hours straight with nearly no food in me, two days in a row. It was precisely what you would think of a coffee convention for industry professionals. There were random espresso experiments, drinks I didn’t know existed, the weirdest collection of people in a room that look so different, and yet all definitely work in coffee. The challenge of testing my caffeine tolerance to the max while trying to come up with some plans or strategies for my job this year was fun to say the least.

It’s been about five years since I started drinking coffee regularly. In that time, I’ve gone from trying to structure my drinking habits and hobby interests for coffee in every possible direction. Up until drinking it regularly, coffee was an essential part of growing up in my house. My parents would get family to fly back with pounds of beans back home, brewed espresso at home, and my aunt (basically my grandma in the states) would do coffee ceremonies regularly at every family gathering. It was only when I became a coffee drinker, developing my own rituals for buna (coffee in Amharic) at home, and working in a shop that I got really what I love about this bev so much.

My relationship with coffee is both a dependency (look I’m tryna be honest with myself) and something that keeps me grounded. During the periods pre-vaccine, where I’d basically interact with no friends and never go to a coffee shop, brewing my coffee at home, gave me some semblance of a routine when everything else seemed so much in limbo. Coffee’s given me something easily translatable and a place to connect with my roots. It gives me something new to learn about, to study, and to be curious about when I seemingly struggle to find any other sustainable hobbies.

So much of the last two days have given me a ton of things that allow me to personally enjoy coffee, albeit for far different reasons I feel than most of the people who came to Coffee Fest. It’s funny how the ethics of sourcing coffee just go flat out the window in a space like this, the implications and ties to neocolonialism the industry has had and continues to have…

Noah Tesfaye

Just someone trying to share my story and find who I am, one post at a time