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 Sunergos’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. Zero Defect Sorting, which takes three times longer than other coffees from the region, enhances the coffee’s clarity in the cup and intensifies the aroma.
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 Quasar Coffee in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Kochere, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Masrshu Sima Washing Station
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
elevation: 1400 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of this Ethiopia YirgZ is very unique, very specific. It’s fruity, with scents of berries and stone fruit, and it has some wonderfully floral black tea and honeysuckle aromatics. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I feel obligated to note, though, that there was something else—something crazy—in this aroma that stood out, but it only lasted for a couple days: sweet tomato sauce and basil. It was a very strange, very specific note, but, as I mentioned, it was only present for a short time.)
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is greeted by a medium-bodied coffee with a vibrant juicy mouthfeel that splashes onto the tongue. Beautiful flavors of peach, raisin, and Fuji apple dance on a thin stage of honey and cane sugar, sparkling on the tongue with a subtle effervescence.
As the cup cools off, the coffee gets a bit livelier and juicier; notes of effervescent white grape and a mildly zesty lemon rind acidity intermingles with Earl Grey tea, which plays out through a slightly dry finish.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citric acidity; dry finish.
I’ve had this coffee several times now and, I have to say… Quasar Coffee’s Ethiopia YirgZ is pretty damn tops. This coffee and I went on a weird and wild adventure together over the seven days I cupped it; seems like every day it presented my taste buds with something new: juicy, sweet, fruity, savory, spicy, floral, sugary… This one ran the gamut, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
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.