Situated in the south of Ethiopia on the border with Kenya and Somalia, the region of Sidamo is best known for its fine Arabica coffee. Sidamo is the name of this mountainous region, its population, and its language. Here, coffee grows wild on the mountain slopes, on large estates and also in coffee gardens – small strips of land in which each family plants fruit trees and vegetables – before being cleaned at the washing stations

scattered around the region. Coffee is not only a mainstay of the local economy but is also an important part of local social and cultural life. 
In Sidamo, a coffee ceremony is an ancient ritual handed down from generation to generation. An invitation to attend one is a sign of friendship and great respect, and the key to an experience of unparalleled charm.


Ahmed Legesse


monoarabica Ahmed Legesse
Ahmed Legesse
illy since:

Every morning, Ahmed Legesse stops off at a coffee shop in Addis Abeba. But the best coffee of the day is the one he enjoys shortly afterwards, sitting at the desk in his office as he is doing now. The sun streams in through the window while trucks rumble outside: all day long, coffee sacks will be loaded up for delivery. As always, Ahmed is calm and speaks in measured tones. He has the serenity of someone who loves his work and knows that it will be appreciated all over the world.
In Ethiopia there is a strong bond between the land and coffee, which in this part of the world also grows in the wild. But growing and selling it is a tough challenge, which is why Ahmed and his brother have invested heavily in training and quality management.
They have learned a lot in their 20-year collaboration with illy, and have built up a strong personal and professional relationship with the company from Trieste. It goes much deeper than just buying and selling coffee. Ahmed often remembers the singing, dancing and partying during his Italian partners’ visits to Addis Abeba.
The noise of the trucks is replaced by the sound of women singing as they carefully clean the coffee. As he watches them, Ahmed thinks back to a promise he made many years earlier: none of this would ever be lost. This is why he is trying to pass on his knowledge to his children, as his father did with him.