My mother and American “Tela”

There are several varieties of traditional fermented beverages in Ethiopia, not only of animal origin, but also of plant origin. In everyday life individuals appreciate fermented beverages and particularly when receiving guests, they like to treat them to traditional alcoholic beverages. Tella, tej, areki, borde, and shamita are cocktails that each household creates to treat guests. Substrates for its production are from locally available raw materials. Therefore, the basic production procedure is the same, but the tastes may vary. One of the most popular fermented alcoholic beverages is tella, which is manufactured largely from barley but wheat, maize, sorghum, and teff are utilized depending on the region. Its production procedure demonstrates the similarities to beer: addition of malt and gesho which has the same function as hops in beer. The predominant fermentation yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae and saccharification of cereal starch seems to depend on malt. However, the degree of alcoholic fermentation is minimal and alcohol concentration varies between 2 and 6 percent . Lactic acid bacteria are particularly active in tella therefore pH ranges 4–5 produce typical tastes such as sourness, sweetness, and bitterness. As the Ethiopian economy improves, more people consume western style beers. Tella has not been commercialized yet, hence the procedure has not been standardized and modernized. Considering the case of Korean makgeolli and the Ethiopian originality of applying gesho in tella, Ethiopia should pay more attention to tella for globalization.

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