Yirgacheffe (also spelled Yirgachefe, Yergacheffe, or Yerga Chefe) is a micro-region within the much larger region of Sidama (or Sidomo) in southern Ethiopia. It is widely considered the birthplace of coffee.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe has a light to medium body (although they can be full body as well). As is typical with other coffees from this region, it has a distinctively fruity flavor profile and a bright, floral aroma thanks to wet-processed beans cultivated at a high elevation (between 5,800 to 6,600 ft).
It’s difficult to generalize the flavor of Ethiopian coffees. Each region has its own unique flavors, which can vary from farm to farm, season to season. Plus, the method of processing (wet vs. dry) and roast level can significantly alter certain highlights even from the same bean. But the high elevation of Ethiopia produces a hard bean, resulting in intense flavors and aromatics.
Top grade Yirgacheffes have a very clean taste and exhibit bright acidity along with complex floral and citrusy notes (generally the washed or wet-processed beans), this is the kind of bean we offer here at Commongroundcoffees.co.za.
Most people enjoy a quality Yirgacheffe for its floral, fruity, and tea-like finish. These qualities are attributable to wet-processing.
So what is wet processing? As soon as the beans are harvested, and still moist, the coffee cherry is washed off to remove the skin and pulp of the fruit. Then, the beans are soaked in water fermentation tanks for 24-72 hours, then dried. Wet processing results in higher acidity than dry processed methods, which gives Yirgacheffe that “clean” taste.
There’s nothing wrong with naturally (dry) processed Yirgacheffe. It’s a matter of taste. We prefer the washed Yirgacheffe because it has more clarity. Unwashed Yirgacheffe tends to have less acidity and a fuller body that doesn’t taste as “clean” as washed Yirgacheffe.