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 3 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 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
The aroma of the Ethiopia YirgZ is absolutely fantastic. Sweet, fruity, floral, and fragrant with scents of peach, grape, citrus, and honeysuckle.
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 white grape and a mildly zesty lemon rind acidity play out through a slightly dry finish.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citric acidity; dry finish.
I’m ending my most recent week with Sunergos Coffee on a high note; their Ethiopia YirgZ is another in a long line of fine washed Ethiopian coffees we’ve had here at the Table over the past several months. Clean, sweet, juicy, somewhat complex, and all together delicious.
But the thing that really fascinated me about this one was how different it was from the last iteration of it that Sunergos sent me a while ago. It’s astonishing to me how a coffee can change so drastically over such a short amount of time.
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.