Top grade Yirgacheffe coffees share many characteristics with the best
Sidama coffees. Fruit flavors, a bright acidity, and a silky mouthfeel are some
of its hallmarks.
Yirgacheffe produces both washed and unwashed coffees. While it originally
became famous mostly for its washed coffees, recent years have seen the export of
some highly sought-after top-rate unwashed coffees as well.
Top grade washed coffees from Yirgacheffe are renowned for bright citrus
acidity, often with a lemony character, with excellent sweetness. The other
hallmarks of the coffee is a light, herbaceous quality that compliments the fruit
flavors well, for a complex and flavorful coffee.
The best unwashed coffees from Yirgacheffe often retain a high degree of acidity,
with softer fruit flavors and sometimes berry characteristics.
All Yirgacheffe coffees are given a grade, as well as a letter characteristic, either A or
B. Unlike with the other large coffee regions, these letters do indeed make a
qualitative distinction. For all Yirgacheffe coffees, the letter A designates “coffee
having Yirgacheffe flavor”; the letter B designates “coffee lacking Yirgacheffe flavor.
It is possible to find specialty grade coffees among the B category. These would be
coffees with excellent cup characteristics, but characteristics that cannot be
considered “classic Yirgacheffe flavor.”
The delivery center for all Yirgachefe coffees is the nearby large town of Dilla.
All commercial grade coffee, washed and unwashed, graded 3 through 9, is simply
called Yirgacheffe A or Yirgacheffe B. Both categories include the four Yirgacheffe
Yirgachefe A: Yirgachefe, Wenago, Kochere, Gelena/Abaya
Yirgachefe B: Yirgachefe, Wenago, Kochere, Gelena/Abaya
Specialty grade coffee, both washed and unwashed, graded Q1 and Q2, is given a
designation by one of the four zones in Yirgacheffe. The A and B designations, once
again, refer to the presence or lack of classic Yirgacheffe flavor.