Friday, March 10, 2006


“A good name is far better than a good deal of money” –m.a.ogsadey

The coffee business has lost a king. In early February, Mohamed Abdullahi Ogsadey was killed in a car accident in Ethiopia. A Somali king by birth, he immigrated to Ethiopia and has been our supplier of Ethiopian coffees since the early1980’s. We shall not soon see his like again.

A devout Muslim, Ogsadey never drank alcohol, never ate pork, and never (!) drank coffee…except for once at my house, when I brought out my mother’s antique Turkish espresso cups, and he graciously deigned to take a few sips. He walked the earth like the true king he was, eagerly followed by gleeful children, hoping for the generous handouts he was known for. One of our customers once found himself on a bus with Ogsadey, who bought Qat for the entire bus to chew on for the duration of the trip. In a business of sharks, he was the epitome of honor. In all our years of dealing with him, his knowledge and understanding of the coffee business never failed to impress us, never once fell below the very highest standards of the industry. His reputation at the time of his unexpected death was impeccable.

Words cannot convey his demeanor and stature. His son Saad once said to me, “all of his sons have been to University, but none of us can hold a candle to him.” No one who ever met him would ever forget him. Tall, handsome, smiling, he dominated a room.

In the end, we will always hold him in our hearts, but he will remain with us also as a symbol of what is best in the industry. He was an honorable man, who never cheated in business, and gave back to those at the bottom of the coffee chain who need it the most. We would all do well to enjoy his reputation when our time comes…..
-Helen Nicholas

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