Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans make for delightfully mellow coffee with hints of fruity citrus notes and a mild body. The Yirgacheffe region within Sidamo is considered the birthplace of the Arabica coffee plant. This is a world-class coffee bean that all coffee connoisseurs should try.
Top Recommended Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
- Country of Origin – Ethiopia
- Regions – Yirgacheffe, Southern Ethiopia
- Best Known Growers – Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperatives Union (YCFCU)
- Altitude – 1,700 to 2,200 meters
- Harvest – October to September
- Milling Process – wet-processed or sun-dried
- Aroma – floral, sweet
- Flavor – citrusy, sweet, floral, tea and fruity
- Body – smooth and mild with depth
- Acidity – medium
- Certification – USDA Organic, Fair Trade Organic and IFOAM certifications available.
About the Bean
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans are considered the best Ethiopia has to offer – which is an incredibly high standard. Many of the small farms growing in the Yirgacheffe region use traditional methods to grow, fertilize and care for their plants by hand. Although united under the YCFCU of coffee growers in Ethiopia, they remain independent and rely on Fair Trade support.
The delicate citrusy flavor is their trademark and you won’t find any other bean like it across the world, despite all Arabica coffee plants originating from this region. The distinctive flavor and high quality make this a world-renowned coffee bean that no Coffee Dork should skip.
This is a light to medium roast that goes through a wet-process (sun-dried is also available) once before drying. For many of the small farms that grow the Yirgacheffe beans, this entire process is done by hand, as they have done for centuries.
It’s said that an ancient Ethiopian herder discovered the potential of the coffee plant when his herd wouldn’t sleep after eating the cherries– this is likely to be a myth, but nonetheless, the coffee plant was first discovered somewhere in this region.
About the Region
Yirgacheffe is located in Southern Ethiopia – it’s actually a small area inside the larger Sidamo Ethiopia region, also a well known and highly-regarded Ethiopian coffee bean. The Yirgacheffe area has a high elevation with mountainous areas and tropical vegetation.
However, unlike the Sumatra Mandheling bean and countless other Arabica varieties which are grown in a constant tropical climate near the equator, the Ethiopian bean grows through significantly different wet and dry seasons. This alters the flavor and body of the bean, making it more intense with citrus kicks and vibrant fruity notes.
The elevation, which classes the bean as Strictly High Grown, means the plants are slow growing and require careful maintenance throughout the year. This painstakingly slow and careful growing, fertilizing, harvesting and processing of the beans by hand pay off – the resulting beans have an unbelievable premium taste that’s very hard to beat.
The citrusy notes and tea-like flavor make this particular bean ideal for cold brewing, which you can achieve at home using a French press.
- 2 ounces of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans, medium to coarse grind.
- 2 cups of filtered water.
- French press.
Grind your beans freshly, leaving them rather coarse (as we’ll be brewing for a prolonged period).
Simply pour the grinds and water into your press, stir, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, assess the cold brew. It may need over 24 hours to brew, depending on the coarseness, freshness of the beans and temperature of the water. This is a medium-light roast bean with a floral and citrusy flavor, so you don’t want to over-brew this as any bitterness will overpower the delicate notes.
To serve, press, pour and dilute the coffee if necessary into a tall glass over ice. Much like teas with floral and citrusy notes, this coffee is best enjoyed without milk to fully appreciate the distinctive flavor.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.