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Yirgacheffe coffee growing region of Ethiopia pinned in the map
Yirgacheffe pinned on the map

Yirgacheffe, probably the most famous

The Yirgacheffe region of the Sidama province is probably the most famous region in the world, when it comes to coffee. This coffee has been used in most of the most famous Italian coffee blends for decades. By itself it typically has a strong lemon tart taste. Unlike most of the coffees from Ethiopia, this is a very localized coffee that comes from a region that is also fighting for its own acknowledgement as a coffee, called Sidama

Considering that it grown is a similar climate to Limu it is a extremely distinct cofffee. Whether it is the highland growth of at least 2000 metres above sea level that makes it so unique, or the fact that Lake Abaya is so close about 40 years ago it was noticed that two coffee washing stations near the town of Yirgacheffe in the Sidamo coffee region were consistently producing a one of a kind coffee every crop year. It is normal to find terroir difference in all coffee growing regions, this difference in coffee character was always so dramatic that it lead to the creation of a new Ethiopian coffee growing region cataloguing. True Yirgacheffe has a very pronounced and unusual flavour acidity which most coffee drinkers immediately pick out as being lemony and tanniny in character. It is suitable for all brewing methods and although being medium to light bodied.

Coffee being sorted in Yirgacheffe
Lady in Yirgacheffe sorting coffee

Manual labour

All the coffee in Yirgacheffe is processed locally. The groves that the coffee grows in are ancient. Until the late 1980's water was manually carried from the lake and streams to the villages to process the coffee. Since then the locals have built large cement tanks that can hold five hundred gallons of water as it bubbled out of ground springs. The piping which snakes through manually dug trenches (as places as deep as 3 metres), keeping the pipes level, so that the water can be piped to the villages. This has freed up the people to spend more time farming the coffee.

The coffees from Yirgacheffe are mostly produced using the wet method, and then dried in the sun on what has been now named African beds. This can be seen in the picture to the left. They are beds raised off the floor, made of a wooden frame, which is covered by hessian and the processed coffee is then laid out to dry, where it is hand sorted and turned. Coffee is an important part of the regions ecomony and lifestyle, with a third of the coffee grown being used locally.

Details of the coffee:

Region: Ethiopia, Sidamo province neat the city of Yirgacheffe
Processing: Wet-processed, solar dried
Arrival Date: Our latest shipment arrived January 2012
Varietal: 100% Arabica Typica
Intensity/Prime Attribute: sweet tart and lemon flavours
Roast used: City at the hint 2nd crack.

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