Over the years we’ve been contacted about our name, ‘Galla Coffee’. It seems we may have inadvertently offended some people, as Galla is actually a derogatory name for the Oromo people, a nomadic East African tribe. One person even went as far as to say that our name was the equivalent to calling ourselves, ‘Nigger Coffee’.
It’s a fair assumption that a coffee company called Galla would be named after the Oromos. The Oromos are often credited to be the first coffee lovers (not that they drank coffee, rather they mixed the beans with ghee to form a primitive energy bar), and they were widely referred to as Galla in many texts until more recently.
However, I can category state that we are not named after the Oromos, but I am sorry if we’ve caused anyone offence. You see, I had come up with the name Galla long before I had heard it being used for the Oromos. I wish I had a good story behind our name, but unfortunately I don’t. It was simply picked as it sounded continental and alluring (I sound like a car manufacturer). The only worry I had about the name, at the time, was that is was very similar to a national bingo company.
But like a proud father, I won’t be changing our name, even though it has been tarnished slightly. After all, I wouldn’t even consider changing my son’s name even though Lily Allen made an annoying pop song of the same name. Words have many connotations and I hope that the galla one for Oromo will soon die out.
Just out of interest, here is a quick list I’ve compiled of the top five Galla connotations:
- Galla Coffee (sorry couldn’t resist)
- Derogatory term for the Oromos
- Saint Galla of Rome – founded a convent and hospital close to St Peter’s
- Gaelic for bitch (a female dog that is)
- Roxanne Galla – one of Hugh Hefner’s playmates
Feel free to suggest your own connotations for Galla.