Ethiopia is known for its attention to detail at all stages of the coffee process, from farming, to washing, to milling and sorting. The Z in YirgZ stands for zero—that is, zero defects. One of Huckleberry’s importers, Keffa Coffee, worked with private washing station owner Masrshu Sima to develop incredibly stringent quality practices..
Masrshu Sima’s washing station collects coffee cherry from approximately 1500 farmers in Kochere, Yirgacheffe, and washes and dries the coffee with extreme attention to detail, selecting only ripe cherry, and focusing on slow, even drying.
In pre-export sorting, Mr. Sima and his mill workers go above and beyond normal Grade 1 standards—the Ethiopian government’s highest export rating. For YirgZ, Mr. Sima asks the 200 women at his dry mill to take roughly eight times longer than normal to sort out any under-ripe or otherwise defective beans, with the goal of producing a zero defect lot.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia YirgZ, from Huckleberry Roasters in Denver, Colorado. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Kochere, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Masrshu Sima Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
elevation: 1800 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Ethiopia YirgZ is sweet and sugary, with scents of honey and brown sugar playing with black tea leaves, rose petals, melon, red berry, and citrus.
My first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew present my palate with sugary sweetness, with flavors of honey, brown sugar, and graham cracker pie crust; there’s even a touch of cocoa sprinkled throughout the finish. With these flavors up front, the coffee is reminiscent of French silk pie, but there’s already a quiet rush of juicy fruits bubbling up from the bottom of the cup, swirling over the center of the tongue then splashing against the sides of the mouth, lifting a bit in the finish to reveal rose petals and chamomile.
As it cools, those fruit flavors intensify and the coffee takes on a juicy texture as beautifully clean, sparkling cantaloupe, honeydew melon, raisin, and red grape flavors come to the forefront. Closer to room temperature, the coffee becomes even livelier and somewhat tart, introducing raspberry, apricot, and nectarine notes, while a tangy citrus acidity rounds out the bottom of the cup.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Here at the Table, we’re obviously huge fans of Ethiopian coffees; and, luckily, we’ve received quite a large number of them over the past 18 months. Ethiopia’s recent output has been absolutely incredible, and incredibly varied—from juicy and fruity to silky and floral to sweet and sugary, Ethiopia has been proving itself to be home to the most diverse coffees in the world.
The YirgZ, from Huckleberry Roasters, is another in a long line of really great Ethiopian coffees. It was sweet, tart, incredibly juicy, super clean, and brimming with flavor from first sip to last drop. Furthermore, this was a tremendously refreshing coffee—particularly over ice or cold-brewed on these hot, humid summer days.
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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.