What Is The Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee

What Is The Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee?

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:25

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?

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 principal 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 An Ethiopian Yiragacheffe Coffee
An Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee Bean

Read: How to make light and sweet coffee

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 specialty 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 specialty 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.

Espresso Roast

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.

What Is The Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Medium And Light Roasts Are Best For This Coffee Bean

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 the beans are not properly dried, they take on a sour taste, and are far too brittle for roasting.

Their processing must be done carefully.

A necessity for flavor extraction is boiling the beans for 5 to 10 minutes, which is why medium and light roasts are best for this particular bean.

What Does Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Taste Like
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Tastes Great!

Best Brew Method For Ethiopian Coffee

Let’s talk about some brewing methods and the resulting cups of coffee produced.

French Press

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.

Best Brew Method For Ethiopian Coffee
French Press Is One Of The Best Brewing Methods For Ethiopian Coffee

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 flavors from the coffee.

Pour Over Coffee
Pour Over Is Also A Good Method


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 flavor profile of the beans at different roasts and intensities and how the bean reacts 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 flavors 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

How Do You Roast Yirgacheffe?

Coffee roasters use a low heat for roasting Yirgacheffe coffee beans as they are delicate beans and can unfortunately easily be over roasted which will result in an overtly bitter and burnt taste.

A light roast is popular for Yirgacheffe coffee, but a medium roast provides the fullest flavors and richest of aromas.

What Type Of Coffee Is Yirgacheffe?

A lot people (myself included!) talk a lot about coffee from this part of the world and for good reason! They are tasty, great coffee beans.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe are mainly wet processed and have very delicate floral, citrus notes and a light body. A good clean taste over all. 

Is Yirgacheffe A Light Roast?

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is available in different roasts but is more commonly roasted to a light-medium roast than a medium roast. This is to preserve the citrus notes, apricot aroma and medium body.

What Kind Of Roast Is Ethiopian Coffee?

Ethiopian coffee is available in a variety of different roast profiles and is not exclusively from Yirgacheffe, although this is the most popular type.


the best roast is a medium roast for Ethiopian coffee, at a push, medium-dark as coffee from Ethiopia is delicious and full of unique flavors.

Why Is Yirgacheffe Coffee So Good?

The light to medium body, fruity profile, apricot aromas and the rich taste that is more like a tasty tea than a coffee is what make Yirgacheffe so good. They have a great and very unique flavor profile

Is Yirgacheffe An Arabica?

Yes. Those tasty Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans are Arabica coffee beans. Try them as you will enjoy the unique characteristics and flavor of the birthplace of coffee.

Frappé-Ing It All Up – Best Roast For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Getting the best out of your Ethiopian specialty 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 flavor profile and flavor 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.

Join our active, fun, informative and vibrant coffee community on Facebook/Meta and tell us about your favorite coffee beans, roast and brewing method.

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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