New Arrival: Yirgacheffe.

image027There have been some exceptional new arrivals at the roastery lately. The ones exciting me have been the new crop organic Guatemala from Finca Entre Rios, the latest Colombia from Sr. Octavio Rueda and the one I’m going to concentrate on here, the Yirgacheffe from the Sidamo region of Ethipoia.

Coffee from Yirgacheffe was among the big names a couple of years ago when my interest in speciality coffee began. I found a local source for Sidamo and was instantly disappointed. The citrus notes I had been promised were overwhelmed by way OTT acidity. In fact it was plain sour however I brewed it. The question for me was ‘Is this what I’m supposed to be tasting?’ Was I the victm of the emperor’s new clothes or have I been sold some bad shit?

Now obviously I already had a deeper interest in coffee than the average Joe, but it was my attempts to find a Yirgacheffe which lived up to the hype which led me to this obsession with coffee and a complete change of career and lifestyle.  Quite something for a cherry pip.

All of which is why I get excited by a great Sidamo. It is intolerant of poor handling and to get a great cup everything down the line needs to be just so. On this occasion the hard work of everybody in the chain shines through in the cup. The first thing to hit you is lemons. Not sour like pure lemon juice but sweetened like a lemon tart. This rounds off on your tongue to a blossomy fragrant earl-grey aroma and finishes with a dark chocolate smoothness. Throw some milk into it to transform it into a vanilla-laced chocolate bomb.

Take a look at Yirgacheffe itself in this beautiful video by Stumptown:

Brewing method? For me this tastes best in a press-pot but then I have been on a big french press fad for a couple of weeks now. I think the body you gain from a press helps to balance the brightness and accentuate the base tones. I also enjoy a heavier more oily cup as a change to the filter coffee I drink so much of during the day.

My press method for the Yirg is 45g coarse ground coffee to 750ml of water at 89*c (leave the lid off the kettle for about 3-4 minutes after boiling and you’ll be somewhere near). Steep for 3 minutes, sink the scuzz on top, don’t stir, press then serve.


Do yourself a favour and get some of this coffee while the batch is still young.  I really have never tasted an Ethiopian coffee such a great balance.  If you have ever been put off African coffee beacause it was described as citrusy and bright but when you got it home it made you pull a face like a tea-towel holder, then this will restore your faith.  You no longer need to fear bright coffee.


~ by bombcup on November 30, 2008.

5 Responses to “New Arrival: Yirgacheffe.”

  1. That organic Guatamelan bean from Monmouth was great – quite a few of my mates got a sampler of that, had a real ‘semi dried banana’ note to it

    You working as a roaster for Monmouth?

  2. Glad you noticed a banana taste in there. Early bags of the Entre Rios were had a lot of that very ripe fruit flavour. Something often technically described as ‘funkyness’. This is something I love in a coffee, you will often find it in Ethiopian Harrar with more of a Blueberry or Raspberry funk.

    Many find it an undesirable trait and try to tone it down in the roast. You may notice the Entre Rios is now more sedate, more complex and mature but without that slap in the face fruit. To each their own, but it is another fascinating aspect of coffee, the way it changes with age and is manipulated in the roast.

    I don’t roast, I drive the van! If you see someone’s arse sticking out of the hatch under the window at Monmouth St say hello.

  3. Wow that is so different to the Sidamo I have recently had. I found it be fruity but more of a fruit loaf type thing going on. It was very sweet with quite a low acidity. Very unlike any Ethiopian.

    It was for all intense and purposes it was a very chewy coffee. Either I have done something very wrong or very right…I dunno, tastes great though!

  4. Can’t be too far wrong if you’re enjoying it. Are you getting a dark, figgy, molasses type thing going on?

  5. Figgy would be a great discriptor, bit like a Garibaldi Biscuit really.

    Thing is, I am not roasting it that dark…

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