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Yemen - Mokha Matari
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Aside from Ethiopia, Yemen has one of the longest (and we think among the most interesting) histories with coffee production. The region is largely to thank for the global spread of coffee both as an agricultural product and a beverage. In recent years Yemen has had a dramatic decline in both the production and the quality of coffee, largely due to political and social upheaval. We have been lucky enough to find a real winner from the Bawaan area of Yemen.
Grower: Mrs. Fatoum Muslot
Variety: Indigenous Heirloom
Region: Bawaan, Bani Matari, Yemen
Altitude: 2,600-2,800 Meters
Roast Level: Medium
Brewing Recommendations: This coffee is great when brewed in a Chemex, French Press and everyday drip machine.
The first notes of this coffee are pleasant with a light strawberry tone. It has an almond overtone and slightly herbal but super clean. This coffee offers some massive body but includes some amazing floral notes. On the cool-down it has some strong caramel notes.
This coffee was brought over from Ethiopia in the 17th century along the trade routes. It was via those trade routes that the beverage of coffee spread in popularity, and by the late 1600s, Yemen was the world’s coffee powerhouse in every sense. It was a plant from Yemen—probably Moka variety, so-called after the country’s major port, Al Mokha—that made its way to Java and began the enormous Dutch plantations there, which subsequently fed plants to the rest of the New World.
This history is important because without its stop-over in Yemen, we would not have a number of different coffee offerings currently grown in the world. Central and South America would likely not have the massive selection currently available. Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, however, and thanks to recent political strife and natural disasters, Yemen has gone from being one of the wealthiest nations in the world to being one of the most aid-dependent and war-torn. They have also had a great deal of trouble with water insecurity because of climate change and lack of funding to build basic infrastructure for water transportation. Additionally, exports from Yemen are exceptionally difficult to arrange, not only because of the small amounts of coffee available (therefore making it difficult to fill a container with high-enough quality coffee for shipping), but also because international trade has been challenged by ongoing political conflicts and governmental obstacles, which also drives prices of green coffee up much higher than in other producing countries. Add COVID to all of this and it's the perfect storm limiting coffee from making it to your cup.