Try your hand at home roasting our Yemeni coffee.
How to navigate the seven green coffee options: The Yemeni is a great introduction to this origin. The Matari Mountain is intense and Yemen's most famous region. The Collection Center Reserve is the best and most expensive.
All the coffees are from our two favorite coffee mills, the Haraaz Cooperative™ and the Rayyan Mill (Microlot).
Haraaz Cooperative™ coffees:
1) The Yemeni is dried at the farm level and traceable to the Haraaz Mountains region. It's a great all around, versatile Yemeni coffee, and what we use for our Yemeni Light, Yemeni Medium, and Yemeni Dark.
2) The Farm Blend Regular is dried at the farm level and is traceable to the general highlands around Sana but to no specific region. It is less traceable compared to the Yemeni (from the Haraaz Mountains) but is surprisingly more nuanced and less rustic in the cup. This is a great example of the serendipity and uncertainty in sourcing from Yemen. Sometimes you win.
3) The Farm Blend Reserve is dried at the farm level and is traceable to the eastern Haraaz Mountains. The farmers are registered members of the Haraaz Cooperative, and at least 75% of the coffee is from the most recent crop year. In Yemen this is hard to come by, as farmers frequently store dried coffee cherries as a form of banking.
Tasting notes: traditional and rustic flavor profile with notes of cherry, cocoa, and citrus peels. A winey and tannic mouthfeel.
The Cooperative in their own words:
"the coffee is purchased as dried coffee cherries from farmers in Haraaz. This coffee is purchased from farmers registered in our traceable coffee sourcing program, assuring us the collection of current year crop. However, the coffee is dried by farmers and we have no control over the drying process."
4) The Collection Center Reserve is like the Farm Blend Reserve (eastern Haraaz Mountains and registered farmers) except the the coffee is dried at a central collection center under optimal conditions. This means cleaner flavors in the cup.
In the words of the cooperative:
"this coffee is purchased from farmers registered in our traceable coffee sourcing program that is collected in the form of freshly harvested coffee cherries and dried in our collection centers under supervised conditions."
Tasting note: Clean, resonant flavors; hint of tart cherry and citrus orange; not quite blueberry, strawberry, or berry. But all three, and maybe even rhubarb. Like a complex fruit compote. And of course some Yemen wildness, but much more measured.
5) The Peaberry Regular is dried at the farm level and is traceable to the general highlands around Sana. It's very similar to #2 above but a peaberry. (Peaberrys are about 5% of coffee beans, and are formed when just one bean, not two, form in the coffee cherry.) This coffee has been a runaway success. It's floral, fruity, bright, syrupy, and has notes of strawberry when roasted gently. It's so delicious.
More information on the Haraaz Cooperative:
The Haraaz Cooperative™ is the name we use at Al Mokha to describe the fantastic work of Shabbir Ezzi. He has been operating in Yemen since 2006, and we have worked with him since 2014.
He sources his coffee from a combination of about 800 registered farmers (reserve quality) and also from trusted collectors more generally (regular quality).
For the registered farmers, Shabbir provides them with an ID, so he can directly ensure that they are paid fair wages and their hard work is rewarded. He even has an incentive program in place, where the more coffee you produce, the more you earn per pound. These growing wages (better than linear!) prove a strong incentive to work together and build relationships for the long term.
These are good principals but there is far more than that. In the eastern Haraaz Mountains where the cooperative is based, the economics of coffee have improved so much that farmers have chosen to uproot qat—a cash crop and mild narcotic plant—and replace it with coffee. This change reflects how farmers can make more money and live a more dignified life producing coffee. In fact, Shabbir has been so successful, that all the qat has been uprooted.
We look forward to sourcing from Shabbir and the Haraaz Cooperative™ for decades.
Rayyan Mill (Microlot) options:
6) The Matari Mountain comes from Bani Matar, the highest altitude region in all of Yemen. This is an excellent coffee from Yemen's most famous region. The beans are dense and bursting with flavor. They are dried at the farm level and carefully selected and sorted for export. A genetic defect of "elephant ears" means this coffee is particularly hard to procure.
7) The Al Wudiyan comes from the Al Wudiyan valleys in the Hajja governorate.
From the coffee mill:
We began sourcing this lot from a very large, remote valley in the Hajja mountains two years ago. We had heard of this valley for some time but it is quite difficult to access. A few years ago one of the farmers from Al-Ghayoul whose wife is originally from this valley introduced us to their relatives who also farm coffee. Clearly we are just beginning our relationship with the communities in this valley but hope that one day they too will be open to new pruning, harvesting and drying methods. Given the size of the valley and the quality of the coffee throughout, we expect to see production of over 15 tons and hope to break this down into smaller lots in the future. It is the most balanced special lot we offer and we drink it often as a pourover at the mill.
General Info: As a green coffee, understand that Yemen's is not the typical lot of consistent beans that are identical from shipping container to shipping container. Rather, Yemen's coffee lacks such aesthetic uniformity and instead has a beauty of its own: the beans are smaller and varied in size. This showcases their authenticity, old-world cultivation, and natural processing of 10 - 20 days drying in the sun after harvest.
The magic of Yemen is not the volume of consistent coffee over time but rather the story that each batch and each harvest tells. In Yemen there are 100,000 farmers producing on average 115 kg of coffee annually per farmer. These are backyard, terraced gardens on Yemen's steep mountain slopes. When you roast and enjoy this coffee you will inevitably appreciate and understand the incredible process that brought this coffee from farmer to your cup.
Wholesale: For 10 - 50 lbs green call or email our coffee broker with exact quantity and your shipping address. Volume discount: 10% (10-20 lbs) & 15% (21 - 50 lbs).
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