Coffee Profile: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Grade 3

Read Time: 1-2 minutes

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee; it was found after Kaldi the goat herder noticed his goats acting strangely after eating some cherries off a tree. The legend tells that as the goats ate the cherries Kaldi observed them become more hyperactive and dancing around. So he took some of the cherries back to the viallge elders who immediately thought they were the food of the devil and threw them into the fire where they roasted and released these amazing aromas. This led them to believe that maybe it wasn’t evil and they raked the seeds free from the embers, crushed them and mixed them with hot water to drink. Thus the first coffee was made.

Whether it’s a myth or a true account, the fact still remains that Ethiopia is where coffee was first discovered and for many centuries, it was the ONLY place it was grown.

Ethiopia has four major coffee regions: Yirgacheffe, Harar, Sidama and Guji and Yirgacheffe is probably the most widely known region with Sidama coming in a close second.

Yirgacheffe is a small district located within the Gedeo region in Southern Ethiopia, Africa. One of the largest collectives in Africa, the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU), is located here and is known for their consistency in providing classic cup profiles.

Gedeo occupies a narrow strip on the Ethiopian highlands on the Eastern Escarpment, including Yirgacheffe and bordering Sidama. It’s along here that you can find the farms that grow these beautiful Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Grade 3 coffee.

YCFCU was formed in 2002 as an association including 22 local cooperatives who sold to local coffee boards. Nowadays, they produce their coffee over 62,000 hectares in what is arguably the most famous growing region in the country, and here is where our beautiful Yirgacheffe Grade 3 coffee. Grown between 1800 and 2200 metres above sea level, 9000 tonnes of coffee are produced annually by the YCFCU. Coffee trees on these farms are interplanted with banana trees to help shade the coffee cherries.

Certified in 2003 by the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO), YCFCU has strived to secure better prices for their farmers ever since. Promoting and supporting the continual development of a sustainable coffee supply is their overall mission, which they achieve through offering their producers access to the international market, and promoting sustainable practices.

Traditional Ethiopian coffee production practices are still commonly used amongst YCFCU farmers. All coffee trees are managed by hand, with no chemical-based fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides; organic matter is used as a fertiliser instead.

One of our June monthly specials is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Grade 3. With beautifully sweet fruity and tropical notes, a full body and alcoholic acidity, this single-origin coffee reaches a cupping score of 87.5. Get your hands on some while you can!

by Melissa Hartwig

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