Yirgacheffe

Ethiopia

The most famous legend about the origins of coffee says that the remarkable effects of this mysterious plant were discovered in Yirgacheffe, by a goatherd and his curious animals who became very lively after eating a few beans. Yirgacheffe is now a place of pilgrimage for all coffee lovers.
Yirgacheffe is in the south of Ethiopia, and is home to some of the world’s finest Arabica plants.

 It is a natural “cradle” for coffee: the plant grows even in the wild, and in the plantations it thrives at high altitudes. 
Coffee growing is a crucial part of the local economy, but most importantly is an integral part of the social and cultural habits of the people. As an old Ethiopian proverb says, “Buna dabo naw”: coffee is our bread.

 

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Ali Legesse

Ethiopia

monoarabica Ali Legesse
Name:
Ali Legesse
Territory:
Yirgacheffe
illy since:
1993

It’s nearly 8 in the morning, and in the fields you can breathe the air of last night's work. Millions of coffee beans were left out to dry in the sun, while all around them Nature was waking up slowly. Suddenly, large dark clouds cover the sky. In a flash, the mood changes: first there is a shout, and then an army of men and women run out with large transparent sheets. There are a few seconds of frenzied activity – not even a drop must touch the beans or they risk losing all the hard work of the past few days, the toil of the farmers in recent months, and the valuable collaboration with illy. 

Ali Legesse is standing on the porch with a group of workers, looking at the rain beating down on the plastic. The coffee is safe. Once again the growers’ sixth sense has intervened - they always sense when bad weather is about to arrive and know exactly how long they have to protect their harvest. A weather channel that hasn’t got a forecast wrong for years!
Ali was born into coffee, or as he likes to say “with coffee”. His father was an exporter, and after he died, Ali and his brother Ahmed carried on the family business. The turning point for the Legesse brothers came when they decided to take over the complete chain of coffee bean processing, an ambitious project to which they have dedicated all their efforts over the past 30 years. Each cup made with “their” coffee takes at least 40 days of hard work, effort and dedication. It is a flavour that Ali carries in his heart.