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 Sunergos Coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. 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
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
pour: 2:00 concentric pour
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, and peppermint tea leaves.
peppermint, bittersweet, dark chocolate
My first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew present my palate with sugary sweetness, with flavors of honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, graham cracker pie crust, and a dusting of roasted almonds in the finish. But the most prominent features of the coffee’s profile up front are bittersweet dark chocolate and a really unique peppermint. I mean, really, if I were to put steamed milk in the mug this coffee would probably end up tasting like a peppermint mocha.
As it cools, fruit flavors start to come forward and the coffee takes on a moderately juicy texture—not juicy like a grape, juicy like a raisin—and flavors of raisin, cranberry, fig, cantaloupe, nectarine, peach, and raspberry take center stage. However, even though all of these fruit flavors might very are taking center stage, they’re not taking the spotlight away from that peppermint flavor, which remains constant throughout the cup.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
The YirgZ, from Sunergos Coffee, is another in a long line of really great Ethiopian coffees. And a very, very complex one, at that.
As much as I didn’t want to post any “regular” reviews during December—a month I try to reserve exclusively for holiday coffees—I don’t feel bad at all posting this particular review in with all of my holiday coffee reviews because, with its flavor profile, it could very well be considered a holiday coffee itself. All you need to do is add some steamed milk to it and this coffee could pass for a peppermint mocha.
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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.