Sidam..

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Sidam..

Postby nick on Sat May 08, 2010 11:16 am

Simple question, with what is apparently a less-than-simple answer/discussion:

Sidamo or Sidama?
Nick Cho
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Re: Sidam..

Postby Wondwossen Mezlekia on Sat May 08, 2010 6:24 pm

When I shop, I ask for a bag of "Sidamo coffee" because that is how it is branded, notwithstanding the ongoing debate over the political history of the names. I recently read about the history behind the two terms and the complexity of the issue. The political side of this question is discussed here: http://www.sidamaconcern.com/news2007/0810071.htm

My understanding has always been that "Sidamo" is the name of the region inhabited by the Sidama people. Further, I used to think that "Sidamo coffee" was named after the region where it is grown much like Harar coffee, Yirgacheffe coffee. Apparently, this is not the case, at least according to this article: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/44986

Proponents of the campaign to reject the use of "Sidamo" argue that the term is not only a misnomer but also the result of a deliberate and derogatory acts of "the invading Abyssinian soldiers of King Minelik as part of the campaign to humiliate, undermine and subjugate the newly conquered territories in the South of the country." In recognition of this, the government and ECX officially changed late last year the coffee name from Sidamo to Sidama.

But, changing a widely known brand (even if it is replacing "o" by "a") may not be that easy. The good thing: the general public, coffee businesses, and consumers know the name "Sidamo" as a coffee name - a reference to one of the finest coffees originating from Ethiopia - not in its derogatory sense. In any case, as far as I know, there is no marketing campaign underway - or planned - in Ethiopia to "educate" the world about the name change and to drive the brand to a soft landing at "Sidama coffee".

I hope this helps...

Wondwossen
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Re: Sidam..

Postby nick on Sun May 09, 2010 8:36 am

Wondwossen Mezlekia wrote:In recognition of this, the government and ECX officially changed late last year the coffee name from Sidamo to Sidama.


Wondwossen, that helps immensely!

I, and I'm sure along with many others, was not aware that the Ethiopian government and the ECX officially changed the designation to "Sidama." Just to double-check, I went to the ECX website and sure enough, it says "SIDAMA." It also spells "Yirgachefe" with one "f," in which case I'll spell it that way as well.

If there's indeed no marketing campaign officially from Ethiopia, it will be very interesting to see how the "trend" of spelling it "Sidama" spreads throughout the specialty coffee world!

Thanks again!
Nick Cho
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Re: Sidam..

Postby Wondwossen Mezlekia on Sun May 09, 2010 3:59 pm

Nick, many thanks to you for sharing this! You are right, there is a similar inconsistency in the spelling of Yirgacheffe/Yirgachefe, as well as Harar aka Harrar. Unlike the Sidamo(a) nomenclature though, the spelling of Yirgacheffe/Harar is not of historic or political significance. I mean, I don't think this variation is a result of any historic event other than mere linguistic problems and differences in pronunciation of the names.

But this discrepancy is not without consequences in terms of costs of branding, brand recognition, and marketing efforts. For example, the government had to file two applications (for Harar and Harrar) with USPTO and other countries' patent and trademark offices, which also makes the management costly if not difficult. So, I wish the government invests in developing and promoting a single name for each coffee.

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