Kaldi’s Coffee is one of the best-known Ethiopian brands. The company’s reach is impressive, with 30 branches throughout Addis Ababa and in Bishouftu, a town 45km southeast of the capital. In 2017, Kaldi’s will also cross the Red Sea, to serve coffee enthusiasts in Dubai.
Its founder, Tsedey Asrat, 40, a model-turned-entrepreneur, isn’t as well known as the brand she manages because she avoids journalists. This is due, in part, to the controversies that have surrounded her tenure at the helm of the Kaldi’s brand. The controversies began when she opened her first branch in Bole Medhanialem in 2004 because she said she would open 40 branches, considered by many an immodest statement. The resemblance of Kaldi’s logo to that of Starbucks – a giant American coffee chain founded in 1971 that operates more than 23,500 branches worldwide – added to the controversy. Starbucks later approached the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office to ban the use of Kaldi’s logo, a battle she eventually won.