What Is Yirgacheffe Coffee? Ethiopia's Finest Coffee

What Is Yirgacheffe Coffee? Ethiopia's Finest Coffee

Yirgacheffe coffee is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality, distinctive flavour profile, and rich history. Hailing from the lush, mountainous region of Yirgacheffe in Ethiopia, this coffee varietal is celebrated for its complex taste characterised by floral and fruity notes, vibrant acidity, and a lingering sweetness.

Many historians believe that Yirgacheffe, a mountainous southern district of Ethiopia, was the first place for domesticated coffee to be consumed in 850 AD. Legend has it that Ethiopia's Galla tribe noticed the energy they felt after eating the berries which they ground up and carried on journeys for nutrition as well as stimulation.


Yirgacheffe coffee beans are known for their fruit-forward flavour and aroma with a light to medium body. Today, the region of Yirgacheffe is considered as some of the highest quality Arabica coffees in the world known for its unique fruit-forward flavour, thanks to the ideal growing conditions of this area drastically decreasing the need for chemical-based farming and enabling generations of thriving, healthy coffee trees.


Many people ask the question "did coffee originate in Ethiopia?" and often opinion is divided. All coffee loving countries would like to claim that slice of history, no doubt. According to the National Coffee Association, this could be the case, when a local goat herder named Kaldi stumbled upon coffee beans in the ancient forests on the Ethiopian plateau.

Alternative coffee origin legends state the Arabian peninsula is another home to coffee culture, with trade beginning in the15th century. The beauty of it all is we will never fully know, but one this is for sure, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is a pioneering coffee bean from a pioneering coffee country.


1. Coffee Climate

Ethiopia provides a warm and tropical climate with moderate wet and dry seasons. Being located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn, means the weather is mild with a lot of rain - optimal for growing coffee. This tropical climate also promotes easy growing of other vegetation to provide shade for the coffee plants allowing for more traditional farming methods.

2. High Altitude, High Quality

Ethiopia coffee is grown on mountainside "fincas" (farms) at 1500 to 2200 meters above sea level (MASL), elevations which qualify Yirgacheffe beans as Strictly High Grown (SHG) coffees. This means coffee beans grow slowly due to the altitude, allowing additional time for the tree to deliver nutrients to the coffee and develop its floral and sweet character.


Ethiopia stands as the leading coffee producer in Africa and ranks fifth globally in Arabica coffee exports. With coffee serving as the primary export commodity, it contributes significantly to the nation's economic vitality, representing approximately 30-35% of total export earnings. Notably, Ethiopia exclusively cultivates the renowned Arabica variety, with the forecasted coffee production for 2023/24 projected at 8.35 million 60 kg bags (501,000 MT).


“Buna dabo naw” is a local proverb which translates to “coffee is our bread”. Coffee ceremonies, or Jebena Buna, are part of everyday life in Ethiopia and involve entire families for up to two hours.

Jebena ceremonies involve frankincense and are very unique. After the beans are roasted and ground, they will be added with water to an Ethiopian clay pot, known as "Jabena", and then set atop of flames. Before modern technology, Ethiopians would grind up the coffee beans in a mortar and pestle. Ethiopian coffee demands patience, as the coffee brew needs to be simmered over heat multiple times, to extract as much flavour and aroma as possible. 

Jebena ceremonies usually involve consuming three cups of coffee: one for pleasure, one to provoke contemplation and the third as a blessing.


It's one of the coffee world's most sought after single origin coffee's, and it is a coffee bean which should be tried by all coffee lovers. Tripod Coffee endeavours to bring our customers the best tasting coffee in Australia from all corners of the world. Try our range of single origin coffee pods to experience the difference in flavour.