Mapping African Honey Wine

Carl Seyffert's 1930 book, Biene und Honig im Volksleben der Afrikaner, includes this map (below), which shows where and how Africans turn honey into a beverage. The map's key (beneath the map), which is in German, explains the three symbols that Seyffert employs to locate various cultures and to concisely explain each one's variety of potable honey.

Semi-circles locate cultures that drink pure honey water without fermenting it. Triangles show where a culture blends some honey into other alcoholic beverages. Circles identify cultures that mix honey, water and a fermenting agent, such as gesho, to create honey wine. The numbers on the map correspond to cultures listed in the key.

Note that the horn of Africa - dominated by Ethiopia, of course - has a large cluster of circles. This documents once again that Ethiopia is the epicenter of African honey wine, and that tej is the champagne of African meads.