Home Food The Brewing Tradition Passed From Mother to Daughter

The Brewing Tradition Passed From Mother to Daughter

by белый

The beerlike beverage called suwe or tella is brewed in Eritrea and Ethiopia, as well as in diasporic communities like Dallas and Fort Worth.

Reporting from Fort Worth.

The thick brown liquid had been fermenting in the jug for three days, which meant it was time for Fatean Gojela to get it ready to serve for Orthodox Easter. With her granddaughter, Ava, at her side, she poured it little by little through a thin mesh sack.

“Patience, Mama,” she said to Ava, showing her how to squeeze out the liquid from a doughy mix of grains and herbs.

Ms. Gojela, 65, learned to make suwe, as the beerlike drink is called in the Tigrinya language, from her mother while growing up in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. (Today, she lives in Fort Worth, where she works as a housekeeper for hospitals.)

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The beverage is primarily brewed for special occasions in Eritrea and Ethiopia, where Amharic-speakers call it tella. In the United States, members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean diaspora often make it at home for celebrations like weddings, graduations and baptisms.

Recipes for the thick, murky, slightly smoky drink vary by family and tradition, but they all use lots of dark malted barley. The knowledge is passed down from mother to daughter, and Ms. Gojela now includes her 7-year-old granddaughter; men aren’t usually involved in tella brewing.

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