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What is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee?


What is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee?

Posted by Pumphreys Coffee ,17th Mar 2023
What is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee?

Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee and continues to produce some of the most popular coffee beans to date, with Yirgacheffe being no exception. In fact, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is considered to be one of the best in the world, yet many people still aren’t aware of it. That’s why this article will be exploring what exactly Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is and the key things you need to know about it.

Defining Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans come from southern Ethiopia (Yirgacheffe in the Sidamo region) which is renowned for growing the highest quality Arabica beans. They are considered to be a more premium coffee product due to the conditions they grow in and the effort that goes into cultivating and processing them. As a result, they typically come with a bigger price tag compared to other bean types.

The beans can either be wet or naturally processed, with the former creating the more well-known flavours that fans of this type of coffee have come to expect. Depending on how the beans are processed the flavours can vary slightly, but in either case the characteristics of Yirgacheffe coffee are unlike any other type of coffee beans.

  • Wet processing – detailed cleaning of the beans and soaking them in a large tank after they have been picked. This highlights the fruitier flavours of the beans.
  • Natural processing – the beans are left to dry naturally in the sun after being picked, which leads to the earthier and floral notes being more at the forefront of flavours.

The beans are known to have powerful fruit and floral aromas due to the area they grow in being located very high up. Higher altitudes give the beans extra time to absorb nutrients from the trees and develop those strong and unique flavours. More specifically, many Yirgacheffe coffee consumers can pick up the notes of melon, peach, lavender, and lemongrass as well as a touch of acidity that is similar to wine. However, it doesn’t just appeal to coffee enthusiasts, average drinkers who don’t particularly enjoy strong cups of coffee often appreciate the lightness and citrus aroma almost resembling tea, that the Yirgacheffe coffee has.

The best roast for Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee

A great deal of care needs to be taken when roasting Yirgacheffe beans due to them being smaller and more delicate than other types of coffee. The beans are most commonly sold in a medium roast form as it strikes the perfect balance in the mix of flavours and aromas you get from the coffee. However, light, and dark roasts can also be popular with some drinkers depending on their flavour preferences.

Given the fragility of the beans, if they are over roasted all the amazing natural flavours of the beans will be overpowered by bitterness. The key to a successful roast with Yirgacheffe beans for espresso is ensuring the fruity flavours stay prominent and don’t lose any of their special qualities. With that in mind a lighter espresso roast is often preferable or if using an espresso machine, a dark roast is the best option.

How to brew Yirgacheffe coffee

How you brew this type of coffee will depend on a few factors including your taste preferences and whether the beans were wet or naturally processed. If the beans were wet processed, you might want to opt for a filtration/pour over brewing method like with a Chemex or V60. During this approach, a coffee filter is used to hold the grounds in order for the water to absorb the flavour before going into the cup. The resulting brew will carry all the key notes of the roast and the delicious aromas that make Yirgacheffe coffee the special and popular type of coffee that it is.

If you know a natural process was used on the beans, then a steeping approach to brewing like with a French press might be more suitable for your taste preferences. When filtering with a French press, the plunger is pushed down so hot water can combine with the coffee grounds. This will lessen some of the stronger flavours in the coffee during extraction but ensure a heavier body.


Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee definitely stands out for all the right reasons and it’s no surprise as to why it has become so popular with coffee enthusiasts around the world. Whether you’re looking for the perfect sweet beverage to round off a meal or need a coffee kickstart in the morning, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is makes for a flavourful and smooth coffee that is worth paying a bit extra for.

Buy Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans at a competitive price from Pumphreys Coffee today. Or explore our wide range of other options if you’re still figuring out the right flavours and coffee for you.