YirgZ is Keffa’s trademarked washed Yirgacheffe Grade 1 coffee. In the early mornings in Kochere, Yirgacheffe, late in the harvest season, workers arrive at the washing station and line up alongside the drying beds. Bundles of washed coffee in parchment are untied and opened wide. Dozens of hands reach into the beans, spreading them out flat to greet the rising sun. Mill managers pay close attention to the weather during the drying process. The coffee is laid out on raised beds and rotated for even drying and are covered from 11am-3pm, the hottest part of the day, so that the beans are not dried out too quickly before reaching the desired water activity.
The coffee-growing region of Yirgacheffe is small but fertile, producing some of the world’s most well-known beans. The patented YirgZ takes the classic Yirgacheffe taste profile to the next level by ensuring zero defects. The coffee is rigorously sorted in a process that includes mechanical sorting by size and density, then careful hand sorting that takes three times longer than conventional coffee.
To show appreciation for this work, Keffa pays the sorters three times higher than the average wage. Workers say the extra income helps them support their communities and send their children to school, highlighting the importance of specialty coffee premiums and direct trading practices.