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Modernizing T'ej

Greetings,

I am new to this forum so bear with me as I get used to using it…

First, Let me explain the thread.

I am an Ethiopian-American born and raised in Saint Paul. My 89 year old Grandmother has been making T’ej(Ethiopian Honey Wine) her whole life. Her grandmother, my great-great-grandamother, owned a T’ejbet(a T’ej brewery, literally “T’ej house”) in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. At age 13, my grandmother began helping at the T’ejbet. She has made T’ej at least once every year since then.

Recently, I became very interested in learning the the art. Sterility issues and a lack of technology have kept the T’ej making process antiquated. Some Ethiopian businesspeople have modernized the process but the knowledge has been kept propriety.

In addition, through google, I have found many T’ej recipes collected by scholars and brewers in “the west”. Unfortunately, these recipes miss some of the nuances of making T’ej. Examples: 1[/url] , [url=http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/tej.html]2
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/T’ej
I imagine that for people like me second generation immigrants, that only speak english, it will become hard to find out how to make T’ej.

Most Ethiopian families still make their own t’ej. My aim, is to modernize this home brewing process with the equipment easily available for homebrewers here. A siphon, wine yeast, and many other things taken for granted in making mead are all new technology to my grandma.

In closing, I will use this thread to post her comments on the different products I bring to her and my own experiences making T’ej. My hope is that this will preserve the cultural heritage of T’ej making, allow Ethiopian families to utilize time-saving technology and give homebrewers a good taste for the variation within T’ej.

Cheers for now,

Ps: Amharic(the most widely spoken language in Ethiopia) uses abugida writing(letters that combine consonants and vowels). As such, T’ej is a romanization of two Amharic letters-- the second letter sounds like j but the first doesn’t have an english counterpart. T’e is pronouced at 7:50 in this video

Sounds very interesting! Keep us posted on your results.

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