Our Story

Lily’s Coffee is a woman-owned coffee importing and roasting business based out of Chicago. Founded by Lelisé Demeksa, we provide premium organic Ethiopian coffee sourced directly from our family farm in the cloud forests of Ethiopia. Given the story of coffee begins in Ethiopia, no better place to start and tell the story of Lily’s Coffee than in Ethiopia, where Lelisé (Lily) was born and raised in the Ethiopian cultural traditions surrounding coffee. Lily would eventually emigrate to the United States and begin a new journey, ultimately landing in Chicago, where she expanded her knowledge on the international coffee business, including importing and roasting organic heirloom coffees from Ethiopia.

Coffee is Ethiopia’s number one export and the impact of fair-trade wages on local families has endeared Lily to the ideals of quality, consistency, and integrity when it comes to the coffee business. Lily has always envisioned coffee as a way to uplift families at home and abroad, noticing in particular how so many Ethiopian women, traditionally less likely to participate economically, have found paths to education and success via the coffee trade.

Lily’s Coffee was born of a vision to link old country to new, including family and friends to form lasting partnerships to shine light on the rich culture of Ethiopian Coffee and channel this new enterprise into something bigger than just a business. The ultimate goal of Lily’s Coffee is to provide another path of resource and revenue to bolster our local community here in the U.S. and share the successes with our coffee growing communities in Ethiopia by providing access to education and economic opportunities.


Lily’s Coffee would not be possible without our family in Ethiopia, in particular Haile Gebre, who operates highly successful farms and processing factories under Moredocofe, short for ‘Mora Mora River Valley Development Coffee’. Haile’s reputation is built upon providing proper payment and services to his workers and out-growers, leading his organization’s success and furthermore establishing his grow region, Guji, as one of the premier origins of Ethiopian coffee. One of Haile’s achievements, a state-of-the-art dry mill, built in 2017 in Addis Ababa, is featured on our site.  


Finally, we could not conclude this story without giving credit to one of our earliest and most generous partners, C&S Roasters in Chicago, IL. Over 100 years of combined experience and knowledge in all aspects of the coffee business. We entreat you to visit C&S Roaster’s website and try their signature Philosophy line.