Bold Bean Coffee Roasters Yirgacheffe Kochere (YirgZ)

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I really enjoyed Bold Bean Coffee Roasters’ Colombia San Sebastian coffee I reviewed recently, but I have been drinking a lot of Central and South American coffee recently and have been craving something from Africa. There are a ton of washed Ethiopian coffees on the market right now (can’t wait for natural season to come in soon!!!) and Bold Bean did such a great job on their San Sebastian that I was really looking forward to their Yirgacheffe Kochere. This coffee is a “YirgZ” or “zero defect” coffee and you can buy it directly from Bold Bean for $15/12 oz bag.

This coffee is grown in the area of Kochere, not too far from Yira Chefe, Ethiopia, and like all Ethiopian coffees it is comprised of “heirloom” varietals (something like 4,000 different varietals of Arabica coffee grow in Ethiopia, so who wants to name them all?). The altitude given on Bold Bean’s website is about 1,980masl.

I believe “YirgZ” is a trademark of Keffa Coffee, who imports this coffee. Their “zero defect” process takes about three times longer to do than normal wet processing of Ethiopian coffee. They screen it (use screens to separate bean sizes), sort it by color and also hand sort any defective beans in addition to the natural sorting that takes place during wet processing itself (wherein beans that float will get skimmed because they are usually going to be be problematic).

Zero defect coffee should be about as consistent and clean as possible, and for a washed Ethiopian coffee this is important as the “style” is really based around bright, super clean flavors in the first place. I reviewed one other YirgZ from Huckleberry Roasters last year, too.

I drank this coffee as AeroPress (inverted), iced coffee using the popular “Japanese” method and as a Chemex. Surprisingly I liked the Chemex the least, but I don’t use my Chemex a lot these days so I chalk it up to user error. And even then it wasn’t bad, but it lacked the character I found in the AeroPress and iced versions.

As an inverted AeroPress I got a nice brown sugar aroma that had a little bit of floral notes flitting around the edges. The body on this coffee was on the light side of medium and it was a delicate, clean cup, as expected.

Lots of sweetness and I caught some peach notes, but also something slightly spicy and warm, as if the peach was dusted with a hint of cinnamon. Maybe these were floral notes coming through to my brain as “spice” but I couldn’t shake the image of a super–ripe peach with a sprinkle of cinnamon on it! It was really delicious!

In the Chemex the body was heavier and there was a little more lemon acidity, but it remained very sweet. I kept picking up something “plant-like” and as it cooled I think I was getting some paper notes. I am usually not real-sensitive to paper but I think I am getting more so, and on a really clean coffee like this it is easier to pick up, so I think that’s why I didn’t like my Chemex version as much, although it wasn’t bad. It didn’t have those beautiful nuances of the AeroPress, though!

For my iced coffee I used the “Japanese” method and my Gino dripper. The way I’ve done this and works well is to use my normal recipe for a pourover, except replace 1/2 of the weight of water as ice cubes in the server and pourover right into the ice so it cools on contact. So, I used 30g of coffee, which in a 15:1 ratio would usually use 450g of water. So, I put about 225g of ice cubes into the server I pour over into and then used 225g of water to extract the coffee right into the ice cubes. It seems like there is a big potential to underextract the coffee this way, but it seems to turn out fine every time I do it, so who am I to argue?!

I got TONS of super sweet brown sugar aroma pouring off of this iced coffee and a really distinct flavor that took me a while to put my finger on, but it’s the coffee flavor that I remember from coffee candies as a kid! I mean, this coffee is a dead ringer for what I remember from candies like coffee Nips and the like! LOL There was some light acidity in the glass, too, like green grape. Delicious and refreshing!