Although it is 1083 years since coffee was first mentioned in literature by Rhazeq (900 A.D.), its discovery has remained hidden in the mists of antiquity. Legend has it that a young Abyssinian goatherd, Named Kaldi, noticed to his amazements, that, after chewing the bright red berries from a tree, the goats pranced in an unusual frisky manner. He too tried the berries and enjoyed their stimulation effect. A monk from a neighboring monastery, how found Kaldi in this invigorating state, decided to try the berries with his friars. They all felt alert during their night prayer.
So much for the legend. In fact, there is a consensus among historians and botanists that coffee, especially the genus Coffee Arabica, is indigenous to Ethiopia where it continues to grow wild in the regions to Ethiopia Where it continues to grow wild in the regions of kaffa, Illubabour, Bale and GamoGofa. The noted botanist P.G.Sylvain, after making the through and lengthy research in South Western Ethiopia, Confirmed this by saying that this country is the mother-land of world coffee and it is astonishing why the coffee shrub is called coffee Arabica. Etymologists interpret ‘coffee’ as a derivative of the Ethiopian province “Kaffa”. It is from Ethiopia that coffee spread to Arabia, India, Ceylon, Java, Martinique, Surinam, Brazil, and Colombia… and then black to African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. The roasting of the coffee bean began in the 13th century in Arabia. Some scholars have found enough facts to prove that the beverage was known in Ethiopia since time immemorial.
Gedeo Zone is one of the thirteenth zones in SNNPR; it has a total area of about 134,700 hectare and found 360km south west of Addis Ababa and 90 km of Hawassa. The zone has six woredas, namely, Yirgacheffe, Bule, Gedeb, Wonago, Kochere and Dilla Zuria. The amount of coffee produced and supplied to the central market every year, on average, is about 40,000 tons, which accounts for 23% share of the total coffee export of the country. Coffee is the dominant sources of cash the majority of smallholder farmers in Yirgacheffe area.