Yirgacheffe is both a town and grade of coffee in Ethiopia. The town itself is located in the Gedeo zone in Southern Ethiopia. More than any other country, Ethiopia has a broad genetic diversity among its coffee varieties, with each type having distinctive taste, shape and color. As a result, each region in the country can offer a different flavor profile, forming the grading system for Ethiopian coffees e.g. Sidamo, Harrar, Limu, Djimmah, etcetera.
This offering is from a group of smallholders farmers based around Rocko Mountain in the Haricha Woreda, Yirgacheffe. These farmers have hand-picked their cherries and sold them to a local trader who oversees the processing and sorting before selling the beans to the the commodity exchange who are responsible for grading the beans according to SCAA standards. The best lots are then purchased by the exporter for their Rocko Mountain Reserve.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Rocko Mountain Reserve, from Coffee Mojo in Wicklow, Ireland. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1950 – 2150 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 16, Preciso
coffee: 30 g
water: 300 g
water temp: 204°
pour: 2:30 concentric pulse pour
The aroma of the Rocko Mountain Reserve is that of the standard natural Yirg: intense berries (blueberry and strawberry, specifically) and fragrant flowers, with some light citrus play mixed in.
My first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew greet my palate with a mixture of creamy milk chcolate, syrupy caramel, and honey. Again, up front I’m tasting the prototypical natural Yirg. I’m really happy, though, that I’m not tasting any fermentation or big blueberry bombs; those are the flavors that really turn me off natural Yirgs. This one, on the other hand, is really clean.
As the coffee cools, the berry flavors come together and, when coupled with the sugary sweetness and syrupy texture, makes for a mixed berry jelly flavor. In addition, there are other bright tropical fruit flavors that bubble up at this stage—clementine acidity, guava, mango—and intense floral aromatics that flutter throughout the finish.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; berry acidity; clean finish.
After reading my review of their Mexico Finca Muxbal, Coffee Mojo wrote to me, “In Islamic architecture, an architect would always leave a small area of the mosque without mosaics, because perfection belongs to God alone. Let the Muxbal be my small area without mosaics.”
I think that’s fair. Particularly after sampling their Ethiopia Rocko Mountain Reserve, which provided a much different cupping experience.
This natural Yirg was a great example of how a natural Yirg should taste; it was lively, sweet, unbridled, and complex and it didn’t feature any fermentation or overt berry bombs, which tend to dominate these profiles.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.