Yirgacheffe is a small region that is geographically located within the larger region of Sidama, Ethiopia. However, Yirgacheffe coffees are so unique that they are recognized and labelled as a distinct coffee origin.
With the growth of the specialty industry, Yirgacheffe has also become something of a pilgrimage spot for international buyers who seek out top quality coffees.
Coffee Production in Yirgacheffe
Coffees from Yirgacheffe are grown in 4 smaller zones (Yirgachefe, Wenago, Kochere, Gelena/Abaya) and sent to the delivery center at the nearby town of Dilla.
All Yirgacheffe coffees are given a grade, as well as a letter characteristic, either A or B.
Unlike with the other large coffee regions, these letters actually indicates their flavor distinction. The letter A designates “coffee having classic Yirgacheffe flavor” while the letter B indicates the lack of the classic Yirgacheffe flavor.
All commercial grade coffees, graded 3 through 9, are simply called Yirgacheffe A or Yirgacheffe B.
Specialty grade coffees are graded Q1 and Q2 in addition to the AB letter designation.
Yirgacheffe coffees share many characteristics with the best Sidama coffees. Fruit flavors, a bright acidity, and a silky mouthfeel are some of its hallmarks.
Washed coffees from Yirgacheffe are renowned for bright citrus acidity, often with a lemony character, with excellent sweetness.
The best unwashed coffees from Yirgacheffe often retain a high degree of acidity, with softer fruit flavors.