Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Chelba

Location: Seattle, Washington

Origin: Yirgacheffe growing region, southern Ethiopia

Roast: Medium-Dark

Est. Price: $17.50/8.8 ounces

Review Date: April 2016

Agtron: 37/45

Aroma: 9

Acidity: 8

Body: 8

Flavor: 9

Aftertaste: 7

Blind Assessment:

Roast-toned but spicy; sweet, intricate. Cocoa powder, lightly scorched sandalwood, peach, narcissus in aroma and cup. Lively, spice-toned acidity; light but buoyantly silky mouthfeel. Sandalwood, peach and chocolate carry into a rich though drying finish.


Yirgacheffe is a coffee region in southern Ethiopia that produces distinctive coffees from traditional varieties of Arabica long grown in the region. This is a “natural” or dry-processed version, meaning the beans were dried inside the fruit, encouraging a flavor profile that is less predictable and deeper than the more familiar wet-processed floral- and citrus-toned Yirgacheffe profile. It was produced by 700 small-holding farmers near Chelba Village, and is a Starbucks Reserve Roastery offering, one of an array of select small-lot coffees that together demonstrate the entry of Starbucks into the new, highest-end specialty coffee arena. This coffee was roasted on a largish batch-roaster located on the lower level of the Seattle Reserve Roastery and packaged using state-of-the-art packaging equipment. For further information visit http://roastery.starbucks.com.

The Bottom Line: The dark roast developes the pungent, spicy sandalwood, soft florals and crisp cocoa notes of this fine natural-processed Yirgacheffe.

This review originally appeared in the April, 2016 tasting report: When the Small Get Big (and the Big Try for Small)

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