The name you have been seeing on coffee bean packaging, nationality for most marathon champions, it's none but 'Horn of Africa'. It doesn't seem to be an obvious choice to many to wander, including myself at first, but since our friend Philipp has been there for nearly 3 years now, he hasn't stopped convincing us otherwise. Something must have been captivating this Swiss to live, work and now go to dates in Addis. So I cheated with my research and went straight to model answers over exchanges of emails with him.
'Addis Ababa (Amharic for ‘new flower’) lays in the centre of the country and some locals proudly refer to it as the ‘capital of Africa’ since the African Union is headquartered here. Ethiopians are proud citizens of the only African country that has never been colonised, however, there was a time when the Italians established themselves in Addis Ababa. That’s why across the country a coffee with milk is called ‘Machiato’. Despite the Italians, coffee has been here long before they launched the scene, in fact it is believed that coffee Arabica originated in Ethiopia. Coffee is cherished and although ‘Kaldis’ the Ethiopian version of Starbucks offers fancy cappuccinos and caramel macchiatos, the real deal is still to be a traditional coffee ceremony. When Ethiopians prepare coffee by roasting, then grind and pound the beans, serve strong black coffee in little cups with a lot of sugar. Hipsters who like fresh organic coffee in London have obviously never been to Ethiopia.'
'Addis has a growing contemporary art scene and Ethio-jazz is well know across the world and can be listened to every night somewhere in town. The city has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife. Young Ethiopians like to get down to reggae, west-african and local beats alike. Clubs and bars start to fill up around 12am and people go home in early hours of the day when runners across the city get up to start running. Feel free to join them but watch out, for you might run out of breath quicker than you thought at 2400 meters above sea level.'
With Philipp's experience in Addis cleared many doubts for it being a city I would love to visit or stay to embrace its vast culture and traditions. Many may not know the city, or the country even, from what locals are proud of.. but with it's immense undeveloped soil outside of the city, Afro-Alpine and friendly locals, it should suffice in clearing this new flower's name.
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