Rich, bold, cocoa, chocolate, red fruit & cherry flavors, smooth texture & winey tongue coating mouthfeel.
Industry Review: The Coffee Attendant
Roast: Dark Medium
Processing: Natural & Dried on Raised Beds
Altitude: 1900 - 2440 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: October to March
12 oz. Handcrafted Organic Coffee
There's every reason to believe that Yemen is going to be the coffee-producing country everyone is talking about—and it's about time, since it is the second-oldest coffee culture in the world, and possibly the origin of the beverage we know, recognize, and love as true coffee. Yemen has been cultivating coffee plants since at least the 16th century, if not earlier, but coffee hasn't always been the first thing to come to mind with mention of the place: The country has been during a brutal civil war since 2015, and its other seemingly most-newsworthy characteristics are its water impoverishment, increasing dependence on the narcotic plant qat, and appearance on the U.S.A.'s recent "Travel Ban."
Naturally we're interested in Yemen as a global neighbor, but we at Out Of The Grey Coffee are also interesting in how we can make a difference to the Yemeni people by doing what we do best: Sourcing, buying, selling, and proselytizing about the best coffees we can find.
The ways that Al-Ezzi does business in Yemen's coffee market is substantially different from the norm. Here are the main points that make their model appealing to us.
Haraaz Fresh AL EMADI Pea Berry is special because it is so rare. Only about 5% of coffee beans are pea berry beans. Most coffee beans are born twins. Within each cherry on the coffee tree, two beans are grown side by side, resulting in the flat face of most beans. Pea berries, however, occur when only one of the two seeds are fertilized, growing on its own without anything to flatten it. They are individualists, the lone guns of the coffee world. Because of their independence, each pea berry is infused with all the assets normally reserved for two beans.
So, what do we know about this interesting corner of the world, which sits across a narrow strait from Africa, at the Bab el Mandeb, the "Gate of Grief" which connects the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea? Some believe that Yemen and Ethiopia were once part of the Kingdom of Sheba, of the Queen of Sheba fame. It may be that she was from Yemen itself, since many believe that the kingdom's capital was located there. But our interest is in Yemeni agriculture, and, its coffee.
Only 3% of Yemen's land is considered arable, and just under a quarter of that is dedicated to coffee production. Coffee is second to qat as a cash crop. (qat is a popular mild stimulant, whose leaves are chewed). Coffee is produced on approximately 99,000 small family holdings, which means the average plot of coffee is grown on just under three fourths of an acre. That acreage is often very steep as most coffee is grown in the mountains on terraces carved out of the precipitous hillsides.
Yields are low. The small size of the farms, scarcity of water and poor cultivation techniques hamper production. Many of the coffee farms are cultivated by tenant farmers, deterring investment as well in terracing, water conservation, and other improvements. The various cultivars of coffea arabica grown in the mountains are some of the oldest known, and most are known only in Yemen.
Coffee from Yemen has been prized for centuries. It was once one of the top producers in the world, and its coffee, exported from the old Yemeni port of Mocha, is the original Mocha in Mocha Java, when traders blended Middle Eastern coffee with the Dutch coffee from Southeast Asia. Yemeni coffee is scarce in contrast with other coffee producing nations; Yemen consumes almost three quarters of its production at home, and 55% of what it does export goes to its wealthy neighbor to the north, Saudi Arabia.