Ethiopia plays nothing but the hits, and they’ve served up another real winner with this coffee from Yirgacheffe.
Yirgacheffe (pronounced “YUR-GUH-CHEF”) is likely a name you know if you’ve been around specialty coffee. It’s actually a region of Ethiopia so prolific for coffee that even most outside of specialty coffee (looking at you, second wavers) have probably heard of it.
This is all for good reason. Yirgacheffe coffee is in the upper echelon of coffees in the world. There was a time, admittedly, when it was all that some of us drank. Even in running this coffee briefly as a drip offering in the shop, customers' faces lit up. It is as recognizable to some as Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee or Kona coffee from Hawaii.
Again, all for good reason. It is an origin of understood quality and taste characteristics.
Primarily, in our experience, what is most characteristic of Yirgacheffe coffee is a distinct tea-like flavor. We believe we taste much more complexity in this Yirgacheffe, so we list this note last. However, it is something you will find Yirgacheffe-wide, so to speak.
What we’re tasting:
- Brown Sugar. This aspect of washed Ethiopian coffee is one that we pushed hard for. As a region, there is an intense level of sweetness that can be achieved if you roast it. We truly believe we unlocked some nice, round sweetness that resembles brown sugar.
- Lemon Meringue. In the first few batches of this new offering, we really struggled to make this citrus note pleasant. As we tried to push past tasting nothing but black tea, we also struggled to get past the idea of lemon tea. With roasting changes, the mouthfeel became much thicker and there was a new creaminess present. All of these changes at the roasting level brought the lemon flavor to a very pleasant place, especially paired with the creaminess. To us, it’s reminiscent of lemon meringue.
- Black Tea. There’s no escaping it. . . and honestly, we’re very happy about that. The black tea note is what makes Yirgacheffe so well known. Yes, if all there was to taste was black tea, that may be a downer. However, if a Yirgacheffe is able to build on the base of clean-tasting black tea. Add complexity and other unique notes to pair, and you’ve got an excellent Ethiopian coffee.
We’re confident that this coffee is going to win the hearts of Ethiopian devotees as well as customers curious about the birthplace of coffee. Give it a try, and you’ll understand why Yirgacheffe is a household name.