Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and the History of Coffee.
If it weren't for some unusually frisky goats, we might still be stuck in the beverage Dark Ages.
It all began in the enchanting land of Ethiopia, in the region of Kaffa, way back in the 9th century. Picture this: Kaldi, a savvy goat herder, noticed his goats prancing about like they were at a disco after nibbling on some tempting red berries. Intrigued and perhaps yearning for some pep in his step, Kaldi decided to give those energizing berries a whirl.
The beans nestled within those bewitching berries hailed from the Coffea plant, and they sparked a love affair that has only grown stronger through the ages.
A trillion cups of coffee.
As these peculiar beans ventured forth to the Arabian Peninsula, they found themselves being traded like precious jewels. Soon enough, these globetrotting beans conquered the hearts and mugs of people far and wide, making coffee the ultimate jet-setter in the world of beverages.
Today, the human species globally drinks about 1 trillion cups of coffee every year (doing some public math…that’s 31,709 cups knocked back every second! 😳). And no bean has a more royal reputation in today’s specialty coffee scene than the beans from the highlands of Ethiopia.
But how did Ethiopian beans become the Beyoncé of the coffee world?
It’s all about the Yirgacheffe, baby.
Ethiopian coffee boasts a diverse array of flavors, but it's the Yirgacheffe (pronounced Irga-CHEF-feh) region in southern Ethiopia that has truly captured the hearts and taste buds of specialty coffee fans the world over.
Coffee here grows at over 6,000 feet above the Arabian Sea, and high-elevation coffees are universally prized. The red-brown loamy soil of these verdent highlands contributes to the vibrant flavors and acidity found in the beans. And the entire growing region enjoys a tropical rainforest climate, with the coffee plants happily growing under the protective cover of native shade trees.
These balanced growing conditions translate into a very delicate and flavorful coffee bean prized by master coffee roasters the world over. But how do you get those unique flavors and aromas from the bean into your cup?
Roast ‘em gently.
When it comes to Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans, it's all about the light touch.
Long gone are the days when light roasts, like Folger's infamous "cinnamon roast," left a bad taste in the mouths of American coffee drinkers (ugh 🤢). Today's specialty coffee lovers know that over-roasting a bean means saying goodbye to those delicate floral and fruity notes as they literally vanish up the roaster chimney. To truly immerse oneself in the unique and complex flavor profile of Yirgacheffe beans, you gotta roast ‘em light.
Nobody does a light roast better than the Scandinavian master roasters (them’s fightin’ words, we know, but check this out). Any self-respecting Stockholm roaster has an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe light roast on the shelf. But why do they love this particular bean and roasting style?
Flavor Preservation: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans are renowned for their bright acidity, fruity notes, and subtle floral undertones. Light roasting allows the intrinsic flavors of the coffee bean to shine through.
Authentic Origin: A light roast allows the coffee's origin to take center stage, letting coffee fans appreciate and savor the distinct flavors that can only be found in Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans.
Acidity and Sweetness: Yirgacheffe beans’ lively acidity and natural sweetness are enhanced by a light roast. The key is to strike a balance between these elements, creating a harmonious cup of coffee that pleases the palate with its bright, fruity, and slightly sweet notes.
Mastering a light roast is an artful balancing act: roasting just long enough to unveil the bean's complex flavors without sacrificing its delicate floral and fruity notes.
Cheers to Kaldi and his frisky goats.
Forty-nine countries on this beautiful, coffee-obsessed planet have embraced the art of coffee cultivation, with nearly 1,000 unique sub-regions proudly fueled by Kaldi and his prancing goat brigade (hey, we love a good legend).
Among this caffeinated kaleidoscope, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe stands tall, proud, and with a little extra swagger.
So when you stumble upon a quaint café that's spotlighting Yirgacheffe on their menu, do yourself a favor and hit the pause button. Savor a pour-over of this celebrated bean – sans milk, sans sugar, just pure, unadulterated Yirgacheffe.
And while sipping that Ethiopian splendor, ponder that it all started with a few curious goats and some irresistible red berries. Cheers to that!
TASTE ETHIOPIAN YIRGACHEFFE FOR YOURSELF.
We're so smitten with Yirgacheffe and the light roasting style, we just had to have it on hand for our morning coffee ritual.
We selected a microlot of an organic and washed Yirgacheffe from the small and talented coffee grower Zelelu Ararso. Roasted lighter, we love the blueberry, vanilla and violet notes on the nose and palate, and the acidity is deliciously balanced. It’s a real eye-opener.
Join us for a cuppa and taste this extraordinary coffee right at home (skip the trek to Stockholm for now). We’re offering a $5 discount on any bag (12 ounce, 2 pounds or 5 pounds!) of our Stockholm roast, just use the discount code STOCKHOLM-5 at check-out. Click here to order, or just to learn more about what makes this roast so special.