Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is one of my favorites and works well at a few different roast levels. This got me curious, pondering and self debating as to what is the best roast for Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.
In this article, I talk about many aspects of the beans that come from the birthplace of coffee, from the roasting to the brewing methods to get the best out of this rather delicious coffee.
Stay tuned and keep reading.
What Is An Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee?
- 1 What Is An Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee?
- 2 What Is The Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe?
- 3 Is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee Good?
- 4 What Does Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Taste Like?
- 5 Best Brew Method For Ethiopian Coffee
- 6 Espresso
- 7 How To Roast Ethiopian Coffee At Home
- 8 What Is The Best Roast For Ethiopian Coffee?
- 9 Frappé-Ing It All Up – Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Ethiopian coffee beans and Ethiopia is a pilgrimage for true coffee lovers. The great nation is, of course, where coffee was discovered in the year 850 after Kaldi, a local goat herder noticed his goats were more energetic after eating coffee beans.
Kaldi, the goat herder, then tried the beans himself, noticed the effect they had and our love for coffee began. I find it somewhat divine that the goats eat one of the best coffees with a very top flavor profile.
Yirgacheffe is a sub-region of Sidamo, the principle coffee producing region in southern Ethiopia. The beans thrive in their high elevation, healthy soil and thick vegetation. The climate, which has an effect on how coffee tastes, is tropical with moderately wet and dry season.
The Yirgacheffe coffee plants can be grown and harvested 100% free from any agricultural chemicals. Harvesting is in the final quarter of the year from October to December.
What Is The Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe?
One of the most common roasts for Yirgacheffe coffee beans is a medium roast. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a speciality coffee and thus fresh roasted coffee is best, no matter which roasting profile.
A very effective roast profile is a delicious light or medium roast. Personally, I would not go much higher than a medium or a light medium-dark, a slight shade more than a medium roast. With coffee roasting, the darker you roast your beans, the more they will lose their unique flavor origins.
If you are in on the home roasting revolution, try to get a good, consistent roast and only home roast these beans if you have a degree of competence and are confident in your ability as a roaster. Taking your beans to a coffee roasting facility, I strongly advise checking out their reputation and asking a few questions first.
Yirgacheffe coffee beans are small and need accurate, delicate roasting which needs a lot of patience. They are very delicate. Improper roasting can cause your speciality beans to lose the distinct flavor that you want in your cup of coffee.
A medium roast is used to allow your coffee beans to enhance the unique, delicate floral notes and floral aroma to shine and come through, supplementing and improving the coffee acidity.
A medium dark roast is good for those who like a heavier and sweeter cup of coffee. Remember, as you get darker on the roasting scale, you are losing the deeper flavors and finer qualities.
Surprisingly, with all said, this coffee does very well as an espresso roast. Go light on the espresso side of roasting to maintain the fruity flavors of the beans. Using a home or professional espresso machine to produce an espresso or ristretto for an enjoyable and tasty espresso shot. Just don’t roast it too dark.
Read: Types of roasts coffee
Is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee Good?
Yirgacheffe coffee is better than good, it is one of the best single origin coffees that you can and will try. Many coffee experts consider Yirgacheffe to be an exotic coffee region and one of the finest you can get due to the complex flavour, aroma, floral notes, bright acidity and its classification as a strictly high grown and strictly hard bean coffee.
Coffee enthusiasts have noted a tangerine like citrus taste with tones of berry and wine. Perhaps why coffee was originally known as Arabic wine.
Trust me, Yirgacheffe is not just a good coffee, it is a great coffee. In all honesty, it is one of the best. I am a serious coffee drinker and coffee blogger. I drink a few cups every day and blog daily, sometimes more than once daily about coffee and this is not something I say lightly.
This is one of my favorite types of coffee and I really enjoy brewing and drinking, experimenting with different coffee ground sizes.
What Does Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Taste Like?
I have already hinted at how Ethiopian Yirgacheffe tastes. It is a washed coffee, due to which they have an earthy taste. There are notes of citrus fruits and berries with a wine like taste when brewed as a cold brew. I don’t drink wine or any alcohol, so I can’t make any personal confirmation on that.
Lime, peach and cherry flavors can be noted too. It a very fruity as it is floral. However, if and when then beans are not properly dried, they take on a sour taste, and are far too brittle for roasting.
Their processing must done carefully.
A necessity for flavour extraction is boiling the beans for 5 to 10 minutes which is why medium and light roasts are best for this particular bean.
Best Brew Method For Ethiopian Coffee
Let’s talk about some brewing methods and the resulting cups of coffee produced.
The French press is my favorite method for brewing speciality beans. Due to having full control over all the variables in the brewing process you have the ability to control the intensity of the flavor and strength.
This brewing process brings out the full fruity flavors from your Yirgacheffe beans. A French press is great hot or later decanted and enjoyed cold with ice or cooled in your fridge for a 24hrs.
Pour Over Coffee
Yirgacheffe also serves well as a pour over coffee. Filter brewing methods using a paper filter offers a clearer lighter taste to this Ethiopian coffee. Cloth and mesh filter with pour over, and manual drip methods offer a slightly deeper and bright taste.
Home grounds, a well recommended brewing specialist, suggests that you will get the best results for this speciality coffee by using the pour over method with a paper filter as it offers you more control over the brewing process and get more flavours from the coffee.
An espresso can be brewed with a very light dark roast, a shade more than medium-dark roast. Any darker and you simply will not get a good espresso or simply an espresso that is similar to all espresso.
This is more to do with the roast than the brewing method.
How To Roast Ethiopian Coffee At Home
Roasting Ethiopian beans at home, especially Yirgacheffe beans is not easy. It takes experience and skill. Here are a few tips to help you.
Sampling And Prepping
You need to have a strategy when it comes to prepping and sampling as a good sample will give you an insight into the flavour profile of the beans at different roasts and intensities and how the bean react during roasting.
This is important because Ethiopian beans can be unpredictable and dynamic. You can get different flavors and different after tones and notes from the same single origin beans.
My golden rule again, TAFO – Test And Find out.
Roast Level And Temperature Increase Rate
Careful monitoring of the whole process and a subtle, gentle temperature increase will get the best from your beans. Light roasting allows the acidity and flavours to shine.
A low starting temperature with a low rate of temperature increase until the first crack for natural and washed beans.
What Is The Best Roast For Ethiopian Coffee?
A medium roast works best for Yirgacheffe coffee beans. It is also the best for Ethiopian coffee in general. Light roast and blonde roast also work well to get the best flavors and qualities from the beans.
There is little benefit from roasting your expensive beans to a higher level of roasting and losing their unique flavors.
Frappé-Ing It All Up – Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Getting the best out of your Ethiopian speciality grade coffee you are best using an Ethiopian coffee roaster or one that is experienced in or knows how to roast Ethiopian coffee beans to get the full flavour profile and flavour clarity and compounds in the coffee out without ruining your beans.
Ethiopian coffee beans, particularly Yirgacheffe are difficult to roast for inexperienced roasters, get it wrong, and they are spoiled, undrinkable.
The best roast for Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a medium roast or a light roast. Any darker and you will lose flavor.