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Yemen Lays Claim to the Birth of the Coffee Industry, Beginning in Remote Sufi Monasteries Over 500 Years Ago


Ibn Arabi Sufi Monk

The Discovery

In 1450, Sufi monks in Yemen were the first to cultivate coffee plants and brew the drink we know today as coffee.

Yemen Coffee Traders Shipping by Camel

Camel Transport

Coffee traveled from Yemen's highlands by camel.

Cartographer Jan Jansson's Turcicum Imperium Map Mocha, Yemen

Port of Al Mokha

Yemen monopolized world coffee trade for 200 years, shipping tons of sterile beans from the port of Al Mokha.

Thriving Coffee Shop in England

Global Pastime

Drinking coffee gained popularity worldwide, with coffee shops opening in Europe beginning in 1650.


Taste Tradition

Coffee With Purpose


Putting Extremism Out of Business

Optimistic Coffee Farmers in Yemen

Creating Jobs in Yemen

We believe that coffee farming can serve as a productive alternative to political violence.

Hand Peace Sign Painted with Yemen's Flag

Making America Safer

Economic growth in Yemen creates stability and security. Thus, coffee is an alternative to U.S. military intervention.

An Experience

Delivered Straight to Your Door

I Want It

Al Mokha Blog

Yemen's $1 billion Coffee Opportunity

July 12, 2016

This post is Part 3 of a five-part series on measuring Al Mokha's impact in Yemen. (Links to Part 1 & Part 2)

Erin and a Tanzanian woman smiling with an orange dirt background
Author (on right) in Nyarugusu, Tanzania, during a project for the International Rescue Committee 

As a development economist with interests that are a little outside the norm, I spend a lot of my day thinking about how to measure unmeasurable things. How prevalent is a certain belief? And how does it affect people’s behavior? Can one violent event, or experience, be objectively seen as worse or more violent than another? And if so, what determines that violence—scope, tenor, frequency? How do we fix it?

So, when Anda told me he wanted to start thinking more about impact and measurement at Al Mokha, I jumped up and down with glee. From the moment he and I first talked development and coffee in Cambridge almost a year ago, I’d been questioning, "cool, but how do you measure that?"

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Meet Al Mokha's Economist who we stole from Harvard

June 12, 2016

This post is Part 2 of a five-part series on measuring Al Mokha's impact in Yemen.

Erin Fletcher sitting at laptop with hut in background
Author conducting research for the IRC in Nyarugusu, Tanzania

In Part I, Anda wrote about the perils of trying to be a salesperson / academic, and how that duality plays out in the business: investors want to see sales growth whereas economists (me!) want to see real, measureable change in things like poverty levels, in coffee production, in anything we can quantify with data.

So we're working towards that. In this post, Part 2, I introduce myself and in parts III- V we tackle some tough questions.

Well, who am I? If you're here frequently you know Anda and you've heard mention of some of his advisors (as he spins tales of sinking all his time into a startup). I'm the nerdy PhD obsessed with data and development. I have a doctoral degree in economics. I spend most of my time reading and writing papers on violence against women and children and female labor force participation. I spend a lot of time thinking about very economist-y things like incentives.

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