Yearning For Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee? We Compare And Contrast Ten Of The Best

by | Jun 4, 2020

You probably already know geography makes a huge difference to the taste of that gorgeous, fragrant beverage that splashes into your coffee cup. The elevation of the growing site above sea level, the soil, the way the beans are roasted – all of these affect the taste too.

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Yirgacheffe Coffees Of 2020

Let’s take a little trip to Ethiopia (in our imagination, anyway). Did you know it was apparently the coffee cradle of the world, according to the legend? And one of the most distinctive Ethiopian coffees is Yirgacheffe, known for its unique, flowery flavors. But when it comes to Yirgacheffe, how do you choose the best Ethiopian coffee? We highlight the top 5 below.

 

Top Of The Coffee Charts: Volcanica Ethiopian Coffee 

Our Winner: Volcanica Coffee (5/5)

Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Of the ten Yirgacheffe coffees we selected, our overall winner was Volcanica. It’s organic and fresh roasted, and the delicious aroma of the whole beans is detectable from yards away.

We’ve mentioned the lovely, flowery undertones you’ll encounter in this coffee. Volcanica is notable for its hints of strawberry and cinnamon. This is a delicious medium roast. The beans are harvested from wild coffee trees and roasting takes place in the company’s own facility in Atlanta, Georgia.

There’s just the right amount of acidity in this delectable blend. As well as the cinnamon and strawberry, there are elements of chocolate, lavender, cedar, and pineapple guava. It’s full-bodied with a robust mouth-feel and there’s even a hint of wine in there.

Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region, Organic, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted 16-ounce
1,452 Reviews
Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region, Organic, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted 16-ounce
  • 100% Pure Ethiopian Coffee Beans - Yirgacheffe, Medium-bodied and brilliantly acidy with rough, fruity or winy tones. Thick body and an earthy aroma coupled with cinnamon and strawberry undertones.
  • Organically grown, medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
  • Fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed

 

Fresh Roasted Coffee Organic 

Moving on, we investigated Fresh Roasted Coffee’s medium roast certified USA Organic and Fair Trade. If you like citrus flavors, especially lemon, you’ll adore this single-origin Yirgacheffe coffee. We also enjoyed the lime and sweet tangerine cupping notes of this beautifully complex coffee. The acidity is bright and robust.

It’s wash processed before being dried on raised beds. The company roasts all of its coffees in its Loring Roaster, a model known to be environmentally friendly and excellent at reducing the carbon footprint of the process.

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere Coffee, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2 Pound Bag
294 Reviews
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere Coffee, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2 Pound Bag
  • OUR ORGANIC ETHIOPIAN YIRGACHEFFE COFFEE IS AN ABSOLUTE FAVORITE With Notes of Bright Citruses And A Sweet Lemon Tea Finish.
  • USDA ORGANIC. FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED. Single-Origin From Gedeo Zone, Ethiopia. Wash Processed & Dried On Raised Beds. Medium Roast.
  • ALL FRESH ROASTED COFFEE IS Kosher Certified, Sustainably Sourced and Proudly Roasted, Blended, and Packaged in USA.
  • ALL OUR COFFEES ARE ROASTED  in Our Environmentally Friendly Loring Roaster to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint.
  • AVAILABLE IN WHOLE BEAN AS 2 LB and 5 LB Bags. Packs of Three 12 Oz Bags Available as Whole Bean or Pre-Ground Coffee.

The roasting, blending and packaging processes all take place in the USA. This 100% Arabica coffee is Fair Trade, Kosher and USDA organic certified.

This coffee is produced by a cooperative of over 175 growers, founded in 2012. The farmers are assisted to maintain a sustainable life.

 

Lavanta Green Coffee 

Like your coffee beans green and unroasted so you can prepare them yourself? Lavanta’s 100% Arabica Green coffee will suit you down to the (coffee) ground. (Sorry. We know it’s a bad pun. But it’s a really good coffee, and keenly priced.) This blend is perfect for a breakfast beverage, and you’re likely to get the best results with a City roast.

This bright coffee, 100% Arabica, has perfect levels of acidity that sit well on the palate. There are strong overtones of citrus as well as floral notes, with a little toasted coconut.

Lavanta Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Green Coffee, 2lb
604 Reviews
Lavanta Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Green Coffee, 2lb
  • 100% High grade arabica coffee
  • Green Unroasted Coffee
  • 32 Full Ounces
  • Direct Trade with Farmers To Ensure Fair Compensation
  • Exquisite African Coffee

Family firm Lavanta trades directly with the farmers. They have a track record in helping women farmers and working with cooperatives which reinvest in education for children, clean water, and health initiatives. Lavanta is Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and USDA certified and you’ll enjoy over 4 decades of coffee expertise in every cup.

 

Browny Ethiopia Yirgacheffe 

Moving on to an Artisan Roast, we’d also recommend Browny Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Roasted Coffee Whole Beans. We sampled the Medium Roast, which is prepared locally in New York City. A dark roast is also available (we should mention that even the medium roast tends towards the dark).

The company is owned by artists and baristas and is fresh and young, having been in operation for five years.

Browny Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Roasted Coffee Whole Beans - Premium Artisan Roast (Medium Roast, 5 Pounds)
96 Reviews
Browny Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Roasted Coffee Whole Beans - Premium Artisan Roast (Medium Roast, 5 Pounds)
  • Roasted locally in New York City.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Baristas and artists owned and operated roasting company located right in New York City. We provide fresh roasted coffee to espresso bars, cafes and offices throughout New York City.

The coffee is single-origin and Fair Trade Certified and the beans are hand-roasted. The coffee is also USDA Organic certified. Oh, and if you’re worried about what else might be roasted along with the beans, you can be reassured.

Only beans are roasted at any given time. The company roasts daily, and the majority of orders are packed and shipped the same day. The date on the pack refers to the expiration date, which is 1 year after the date the beans have been roasted.

This coffee will definitely wake you up in the morning. It’s a relatively oily blend, so the flavors are preserved well. There’s no bitterness that we could detect, and we found it worked especially well in an AeroPress.

 

Coffee Bean Direct 

Staying on the dark side, our next selection is the rather lovely dark roast offering from Coffee Bean Direct. The beans are precision roasted daily, before being hand packed.

This 100% Arabica blend is full-bodied and robust, with a delightfully fruity aroma. You’ll detect hints of lemon, blueberry, and chocolate. The acidity is just perfect, and the coffee hale and hearty.

Coffee Bean Dark Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean Coffee, 5-Pound Bag
657 Reviews
Coffee Bean Dark Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean Coffee, 5-Pound Bag
  • Ethiopian Whole Bean Coffee: This single-origin Ethiopian coffee offers a smooth yet surprisingly deep body and crisp acidity. Features subtle fruity undertones and a baker’s chocolate finish
  • Happiness is Brewing: We source coffee from Brazil, Costa Rica, Sumatra, Kenya and Kona to find the most flavorful beans for your next cup. Try iced, as cold brew, with a French press, AeroPress or...
  • So Many Choices: We're passionate about coffee. Try our product lines of Single Origin, Decaffeinated, Blends, and Tea. Also explore our light, medium and dark roasts
  • Expertly Roasted: Expect more from our beans than just a jolt of caffeine. We offer coarse, finely ground and whole bean options. Enjoy peak flavor and aroma in your latte, mocha, espresso or drip
  • Coffee Bean Direct: Our dedication to roasting expertise, unrivaled freshness, modern convenience, and fair pricing allows us to bring you the best coffees and teas imaginable in artisanal blends and...

We do need to mention that the packaging was not completely easy to reseal, so we had to decant the coffee almost immediately into an airtight container. (Yeah, we know, we could also have used a little sticky tape. We just think great coffee deserves pretty containers.)

While we’re on the topic of how to store coffee, it’s a myth that you should store it in the fridge or freezer. (It’s the moisture, see.) Your coffee will be happier, and last longer, in a cool, dark place like a pantry, in a sealed glass, ceramic or metal container.

 

Lavanta Medium 

And it’s back to Lavanta for our next Yirgacheffe, the Freshly Roasted Direct Trade Coffee. This medium roast whole bean option wasn’t the lowest-cost option we looked at, nor the most expensive. The coffee is 100% Arabica, and high-grade.

The coffee is prepared in small batch roasters, and freshness is guaranteed since the machinery incorporates one-way degassing valves. The fact that the coffee cherries are harvested by hand makes a huge difference to the final taste of the beverage.

5lbs Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Freshly Roasted Direct Trade Coffee (Medium Roast Whole Bean)
128 Reviews
5lbs Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Freshly Roasted Direct Trade Coffee (Medium Roast Whole Bean)
  • 100% High Grade Arabica Beans
  • Freshly Roasted & Packaged Within Minutes
  • Direct Trade With Farmers To Ensure Fair Compensation
  • Small Batch Roasters
  • One Way Degassing Valves To Ensure Freshness

Like other Yirgacheffe offerings in Lavanta’s repertoire, this blend is bright and bold. The crisp, clean flavor refreshes the palate, and the citrus and floral overtones combine beautifully with the acidity. We were also pretty sure we could detect coconut in there too, making for a gorgeously nutty, sweet result.

Not only does the company roast with care, but each batch is cupped and tested. This makes for a consistent, delicious end result. With Lavanta you also know you’re helping to trade directly with farmers, meaning the compensation they receive for their labor is fair. (The company has helped to plant over 10 thousand trees.)

 

Fresh Roasted Coffee Green 

Enjoy a “hands-on” approach to coffee, including roasting your own? You’ll love the Green Unroasted Yirgacheffe Kochere Coffee Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC. These high-quality coffee beans are supplied raw and unroasted; they’re sourced sustainably, Kosher Certified, and packaged in the USA.

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Green Unroasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere Coffee Beans, 5 Pound Bag
78 Reviews
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Green Unroasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere Coffee Beans, 5 Pound Bag
  • Perfect for at-home coffee roasters.
  • High-quality raw unroasted coffee beans.
  • ALL FRESH ROASTED COFFEE IS Kosher Certified, Sustainably Sourced and Packaged in USA.
  • Perfect for at-home coffee roasters.
  • 5 lb. Bag

You’ll make out honey and lemon in this mild and lovely 100% Arabica coffee variety. It’s ideal for pretty much any roast: light, medium, or dark. The acidity is noticeable, and the overall flavor full-bodied and robust. This coffee offers extremely good value for money.

Kochere itself is just to the south of the town called Yirgacheffe, around 250 miles to the southwest of Addis Ababa. The coffee is grown in the mountains – the town is between 5,900 and 6,550 feet above sea level. Harvest time is between September and December, and the coffee is dry processed.

The coffee is roasted in a USA-manufactured Loring Smart Roaster, with cutting-edge technology that eliminates carbon emissions. The technology also just happens to bring out the full glory of the flavor of the coffee beans, and as soon as roasting is complete, the beans are packed and shipped.

 

RhoadsRoast Coffees 

If you’d rather your coffee came in the form of a light roast, then give RhoadsRoast Coffees’ Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee Beans a try. (Other roasts are available.)

This grade 1 coffee is hand-picked and wet-processed. After fermenting for 3 days (72 hours to be precise), natural methods are used to remove the fruit and pulp.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Washed Grade 1 Coffee Beans (Light Roast (City), 3 Pounds Whole Beans)
173 Reviews
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Washed Grade 1 Coffee Beans (Light Roast (City), 3 Pounds Whole Beans)
  • Fragrant and floral with wine and fruit overtones, the Yirgacheffe is one of the most prized East African coffees.
  • When roasted to a medium-dark level, it has a smooth medium body and long, lingering finish.
  • Fresh Roasted Each Morning & Shipped in the Afternoon! Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is one of the worlds most sought after coffees.
  • Since Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and it has embedded history as the first coffee growing region, it's no wonder these beans are incredibly popular.
  • Offering a softly fragrant aroma, these coffee beans have a subtle floral scent and a satisfyingly intensified finish that would leave any coffee drinker's palate wanting more.

The scent of this 100% single origin Arabica is redolent of fruit and wine. We could also detect hints of caramel and chocolate in there and there’s also a beautifully subtle hint of flowers in the fragrance.

The end result is medium-bodied and smooth. And yet it’s low in bitterness and acidity.

 

Stone Street Coffee 

If you need a low-cost, high-quality Yirgacheffe to add to your coffee cupboard, might we suggest checking out Stone Street Coffee? It’s another light roast, complex and unique. (It’s even won awards.)

This was one of the fruitiest blends we looked at, with overtones of flowers too and no bitterness. We also liked the fact it came packed in a resealable bag made of foil, which even includes a one-way valve for de-gassing, preserving the fragrance and freshness.

Stone Street Coffee is located in the heart of Brooklyn in New York, and this “micro-roasterie” has been roasting coffee for just over a decade, since 2009. Coffee is prepared in small batches, so it’s more of an art than a science. (Not that coffee science is ignored – the roasters are state-of-the-art.)

Stone Street Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Fresh Roasted Coffee, 1 lb Whole Bean
327 Reviews
Stone Street Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Fresh Roasted Coffee, 1 lb Whole Bean
  • ETHOPIAN YIRGACHEFFE - one of the best coffee producing regions in the world! Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is known for being a bright & beautiful cup of coffee.
  • ROAST LEVEL - Light Roasted Whole Beans
  • TASTE PROFILE - Floral bouquet, mellow smooth body, fragrant aroma
  • 1 LB BAG - Our 3-Layer natural kraft resealable foil bag ensures top quality freshness for your beans
  • NO SLEEP ‘TIL BROOKLYN - Stone Street Coffee Company is a specialty small-batch roaster located in Brooklyn, NYC and we’ve been roasting delicious coffee since 2009

The company also prides itself on its ethics, working closely with the coffee farms supplying the beans. Despite this, costs are kept affordable, and you’ll get around 65 average-sized cups of gorgeous brewed coffee from a 1-pound bag of beans.

For a light roast, this tends more towards the middle of the spectrum. Don’t be deceived by the relatively mild overture, as it were: stick with it, and you’ll find the main event delicious, and the epilogue and encore (aka the aftertaste) offer a great “kick”.

We were especially taken by the results in our French press, and we found we needed to use slightly less than we would use from other blends. This is not a coarse grind, and extraction levels are good.

 

Marquis Ethiopian Yirgacheffe 

And so, last but not least, meet the Marquis. No, not the title character in a Harlequin romance (though should you feel like indulging, feel free). The name of this coffee does, however, give you an idea of what to expect.

It’s rich and full-bodied, suave, and full of subtlety and fragrance. The roasting process also results in a certain amount of caramelization, which you can taste in the coffee.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Whole Bean Coffee 2 lb bag
112 Reviews
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Whole Bean Coffee 2 lb bag
  • Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Whole Bean Coffee 2 lb bag

The beans are roasted daily, and the packaging ensures a shelf life of a year (unsealed). The Yirgacheffe beans are medium roasted to minimize the acidity. We found it made an especially delicious beverage using the French press method. (It was delectable made with other equipment too, we just appear to be having something of a French press phase.)

 

7 Things You Never Knew About Yirgacheffe Coffee

  1. It mainly grows in the wild
  2. The berries are harvested by hand
  3. Yirgacheffe coffee beans are on the small side (close to peaberry)
  4. You’ll find it growing at around 5,600 to 7,200 feet above sea level
  5. It’s occasionally spelled Yirgachefe or Irgachefe.
  6. Citrus and flowers are two of the most common cupping notes

Yes, we know that’s 6 – we just thought we’d check you were still paying attention.

 

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee – Geography 101

Well, okay, this isn’t only about the geography. It’s about geology too. We thought we’d throw in a little bit of history for good measure. Since, you know, traditions are important when it comes to coffee.

Let’s start with geography. (It’s important, honestly – this is why Yirgacheffe coffee has its distinctive flavor profile.) The town that lies at the administrative heart of Yirgachefe woreda can be found in the Gedeo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region.

It lies between 6,168 and 6,296 feet above sea level. The climate is warm and temperate, although it rains more in summer than in winter.

And let’s finish with a little history. (Well, all right, it’s more like a legend.) Coffee was, so the story has it, first discovered in Ethiopia. Centuries ago, a goatherd by the name of Kaldi noticed that the animals in his care were much livelier when they had been munching the berries of a particular bush.

It came to the attention of monks at a local monastery. Monasteries have often been a hotbed of agricultural development so they decided to test it for themselves. (Did you know we owe much of our original understanding of genetics, specifically heredity, to a few gardening experiments carried out by a monk called Mendel?)

The monks found they could stay awake more easily with the help of the drink they brewed from Kaldi’s berries and the long path to coffee as we know it today began. With all those centuries of tradition, it’s hardly surprising that Ethiopian coffee beans are some of the best in the world.

 

Top Notes And Undertones – Coffee Cupping Notes

In many ways, coffee is like wine. Or perfume. And Yirgacheffe, one of Ethiopia’s specialist coffees, is no exception. We’ve already mentioned that citrus fruit and flowers are two of the most common flavors you’ll detect, but they’re not the only ones.

You might also decide that you’d like a Yirgacheffe with hints of berries – blueberries and cherries being two of the most common. And then there are the chocolate, coconut, and caramel flavors you’ll often find in the mix. All things to bear in mind when you’re choosing your Yirgacheffe.

 

Practical Considerations

We’ve outlined a few of the differences between some of the top Yirgacheffe coffees out there, including the flavor notes. Your decision-making process doesn’t stop there, though.

Do you want to buy your coffee beans ready-roasted, or green, so you can have the added fun of roasting them yourself? Do you want to buy beans roasted in the USA or elsewhere, and how important is the carbon footprint of the equipment used? Do you need the reassurance that the coffee is packaged as soon as possible once it’s been roasted?

What certifications would you like to see? Fairtrade, Kosher, USDA Organic? Do you need a single-origin coffee, and how important is it that the company you’re buying from gives farmers fair recompense and helps to encourage sustainability?

Price may also be a consideration, and this can vary dramatically between the varieties available. And of course, size might be a factor too – no point buying a 1-pound bag of coffee if you’re planning an industrial scale coffee morning.

There’s also the topic of storage to consider. Some of the coffees we examined were easier to reseal than others.

 

Yearning for Yirgacheffe – Coffee Conclusion

Our Winner: Volcanica Coffee (5/5)

So, we’ve drawn up the shortlist. We’ve sniffed. We’ve roasted. We’ve ground. We’ve brewed. We’ve checked out a few certifications.

And we’re still convinced – our best choice Yirgacheffe coffee remains the Volcanica. Our reasoning? It’s cost-effective and low in acidity. It’s hand-harvested and roasted in the USA. The aroma is impossible to resist.

And above all, the taste profile is palate-pleasing delightful. So, get heating that water, we’ll be round in ten!

Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region, Organic, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted 16-ounce
1,452 Reviews
Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region, Organic, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted 16-ounce
  • 100% Pure Ethiopian Coffee Beans - Yirgacheffe, Medium-bodied and brilliantly acidy with rough, fruity or winy tones. Thick body and an earthy aroma coupled with cinnamon and strawberry undertones.
  • Organically grown, medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
  • Fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed

  Last update on 2020-09-30 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This