Yemen Coffees

There is a certain novelty attached to consuming something in its authentic form and it hold true to the coffee drinking experience as well. This is what makes coffee sourced from Yemen such an attractive product to coffee aficionados. Yemen is the birthplace of what we today call the mocha, the most traditional form of coffee that has been grown in Yemen for a few centuries. Yemen coffee is characterized by its fragrant aroma, complex flavors, and acidity.

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Yemen Coffee

History of Yemen Coffee

Yemen has one of the oldest coffee growing traditions in the world after Ethiopia. The nation is located at the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula and has a mountain range running across its entire length. Coffee has been growing naturally on these highlands for centuries before people realized the value of the crops and started cultivating it or consumption or commercial purposes.

During the summer, these hills receive ample rainfall and are dotted with the greenery of freshly grown plants. Chief amongst these are the coffee plants of the arabica variety. Originally Yemen’s coffee output would be exported through the port of Mocha, from where it derived its moniker. Over the centuries the port has fallen into disuse and consequently, ruins and a new port has come up that serves as the point of transport overseas.

In the last few years, Yemen has been subjected to the burnt of a brutal war that has devasted its social fabric and economy. But through the efforts of a few enterprising individuals, Yemeni coffee has been seeing a resurgence through increased demands and exports to the west.

Why Yemen Coffee?

People all over the world consume coffee as a caffeinated beverage for its complex flavors that balance acidity with sweetness while containing hints of other fragrant flavors. Each of the biggest coffee producers has built their own following in terms of dedicated coffee lovers who prefer one source over others. This largely due to the characteristic flavor profiles that these coffee varieties tend to present which appeals to customers.

Coffee shops, be they big chains owned by corporations or smaller ones owned by individual businesses, tend to keep most of these popular coffees either in single origin form or as blends. Coffee from Yemen is one such coffee type that sought after by true coffee aficionados because of its status are the original Al-Mocha. Here are a few features that make this coffee such a favorite with consumers around the world.

The complex flavor profile

The flavor profile of Yemen Coffee is highly sought after and one that a lot of other coffee producers from various other countries have tried to replicate. Some of them have even succeeded in producing coffee variants that resemble the profile presented by Yemen coffee closely enough to confuse a lot of consumers. But none of these have the inherent degree of chocolate tones that Yemen coffee naturally contains without any need for artificial enhancement.

A cup of Yemen coffee is known for its wildness and complex profile. These coffees have an earthy pungency that is at once deep and rich. This character is further complemented by the pungency of dry fruits such as raisins and notes of spices like cardamom, tobacco, and cinnamon. All these notes come together to constitute a truly special blend of flavors that unfold gradually in every mouthful.

The processing method

Yemeni coffee is processed through a traditional dry method that was developed and put to use several centuries ago and still serves to inculcate unique qualities in their coffee. The fruits are picked and dry processed by putting them out to dry on the rooftops by exposing them to direct sunlight.

The processing tradition in Yemen foregoes any wastage of the coffee fruit by reusing the scrubbed off remnants of the coffee cherry to make a sweet drink called Qishr. The beans are recovered by removing the fruit husk with a traditional millstone, a process that lends Yemen coffee its distinctive irregular surface.

The different types of coffee

The Mokha or Mocha coffee sourced from Yemenis often marked as belonging to one of the two main categories. The Matari coffee is known for its chocolate overtones accompanied by a heavy body and acidity has resembled that contained in wine. This coffee type is cultivated in Bani Matter, a region located towards the west of the city of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

The Sanani coffee, on the other hand, has a more exotic but simultaneously balanced profile containing fruity notes. Unlike the Matari variant, Sanani coffee has a medium body and exhibits less acidity in the cup than Yemen coffee types. This coffee grows in a number of regions located to the west of the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa.

Some other popular types of coffee cultivated in Yemen include the Ismaili coffee and the Sharki coffee, both of which offer high-quality brews. The Ismaili coffee is especially known locally for its high quality and is easily recognizable due to the characteristic coffee beans shaped like peas. There are many more types of Arabica coffee produced throughout Yemen that does not have commercial names but is known locally by their monikers that have been passed down orally through the generations.

Additionally, the Mocha from Yemen is also sold as a blend mixed with other forms of coffee from foreign shores. One of the most popular of such blends is the one containing Yemen Mocha blended with Java Arabica coffee from Indonesia. This traditional blend is consumed both domestically by people in Yemen as well as elsewhere from around the world.

Despite the civil war that has been raging in Yemen for the last few years, the coffee industry in Yemen has survived and continued to produce high quality yields. What’s more, coffee cultivation has also become a viable source of income in this war-torn country with many rural farmers and laborers relying on this industry to earn their living. So, try out the original Mocha from Yemen and bask in its exotic flavors while also helping out the local farmers.


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