Review: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Dry Process

Review: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Dry Process

 July 12, 2013
Yirgacheffe region, Southern Ethiopia
1800-2200 MASL
Dry (natural) process


Yirgacheffe is an ancient coffee-producing region located in the mountainous high country of Southern Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee and 7th largest producer in the world.  They are among the most justly famous in the world for their high quality and distinctive floral, fruity and chocolaty flavors.  The beans are grown by small farmers and processed and sold via well-organized co-ops.  The Ethiopian government  manages the market, gaining a significant portion of its revenue from the industry and ensuring proper investment in continuing quality.


We roasted two batches of the Yirgacheffe—light (City – City+) and medium (City+ – FC).  After resting 72 hours, we cupped them side by side and compared the taste profiles.

Light Roast – Roasted light, the Yirgacheffe beans are mottled and uneven-looking, but the flavor is complex and fruity. Strawberries and blueberries predominate, with a slight lemony note over top. This is definitely not everyone’s favorite coffee, but it is elegantly structured, very different and really, really tasty. I made cold brew with this and served it over ice with a splash of cream on a hot day. Served cold, the berries are even more pronounced. Heaven! If it isn’t summer, this is good drip or french press. I haven’t tried it as espresso, but I suspect it isn’t a good candidate for that.

Medium Roast –For me, this is the point where the Yirgacheffe is best balanced between berryliciousness and dark chocolate.  It is intensely aromatic both dry and wet, and the complexity of the flavors  testifies to the natural processing of the beans. Unlike Harrar dry process coffee, however, this one is not wild-tasting; it has an elegant integration of berry and chocolate,  with hints of flowers and citrus rind giving it some zip.

Dark Roast – I did not insult this coffee by dark roasting it. It would have lost all its character. If you want espresso or just a dark roast, the Ethiopia Lekempti is a much better choice.

Recommendation:   I recommend the Light Roast for emphasis on the berries with citrus notes. I recommend the Medium Roast for the best integration of berries and dark chocolate. I further recommend leaving a sachet of the beans on your desk just for sniffing.

Enjoy your coffee!


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