Green Coffee Offerings : Arabia : Yemen
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Given the political instability in the region, we were amazed by the quality of coffee we were able to get from our supplier in 2011 and 2012.
About Yemen's Coffee
Yemen has a coffee culture like no other place, and perhaps some of what we enjoy in this cup is due to their old style of trade. Exporters do not buy from farms, but through an extesive network of middlemen. Local buyers receive coffee in the pod, the entire dried cherry, and that is stored, usually in underground caverns! The coffee actually exported is usually the oldest of their stocks, not new crop coffee! But this is the way it has been, and is one reason that new Yemen arrivals often have moisture content readings in the 10.5% range, in my experience. Yemeni growers are not hurt by this system with so many middlemen, largely because the coffee land under cultivation is limited, production is fairly low due to high altitude and limited inputs, and the crop is in such high demand. Competition from the Saudis also keeps Yemeni coffee prices very high. We are offering Qishr now too (also spelled Quishir, Keshir, Geshir) - the dried coffee husks used to make traditional hot infused coffee tea, or Yemen Ginger Tea.
|General Yemen Roasting Tips: These coffees are very high-grown and need to be roasted slightly longer than other arabica coffees. This is a dry-processed natural coffee, and the roast color will be uneven from bean to bean ...but we judge coffee by the "cup quality," not visual appearances: don't be an "eye-cupper". Some Yemeni coffees are very small in screen size, which might cause problems in the Alpenrost. Yemeni coffee really develops its flavors over the first 2 days after roasting, especially the body/mouthfeel. Ideally, try to wait 24-48 hours before brewing. Since this is a hand prepared coffee dried in the sun - watch out for rocks! There can be small stones in the coffee that you need to cull out before roasting and definitely before grinding as these can jam a grinder. (In wet processed coffees the stones fall out in the water channel but in dry processed coffees, small stones can escape detection and make it all the way through to the final bag.) Expect uneven roast colors from Yemeni coffees, just as with the dry-processed Ethiopian coffees. Yemeni coffees pass from 1st crack to 2nd crack rapidly, so be on your toes!|
Our Yemeni Offerings:Please refer to our Reference Page for definitions of terms and cupping numbers used below. Check out the Sweet Maria's Coffee Home Roasting Forum for more conversation about home roasting this and other coffees.
We are currently out of stock. The review below is provided for your reference.
Ismaili is a "fabled" origin. Even in Yemen, in a local market in Sana'a, the spice-tea-qishr-coffee vendor told me his green beans (much of it broken "triage" coffee, mixed with cardamom pods) were truly special. "It's Ismaili coffee, " he said. I didn't mention that I slept on the floor of a villagers house the night before, in the mind-boggling vertical mountains of Ismaili, a landscape etched in stone with ancient terraces lined with ghat and coffee trees. The cup has always had a big spicy character, not the fruitiest Yemen coffee but with a unique flavor profile. It's amazing, with all the issues in Yemen, we were even able to get coffee exported in 2012. But here it is, and it is cupping really well.
Like most of our Yemeni coffees, Ismaili cups well along the whole roast spectrum, and its aroma and flavor profile is as variant as the roast possibilities. In the dry aroma, lighter roasts showed milk chocolate, strawberry, and banana bread, whereas darker roasts brought out overripe banana, dark berries and cacao nibs. Ismaili's crust smelled of macadamia nuts, chocolate brownie and baked brown rye, while the break released spice fragrances such as clove, cinnamon, and all spice. Darker roasts even showed signs of plum pudding. This is a very pleasant cup at City+/FC. There's a lot of dried fruit in the cup, such as tamarind, strawberry, apricot, and sliced banana. It has a rustic sweetness that is akin to natural, unrefined sugars like muscavado, or turbinado. Full City+ roasts brought out a much more intense flavor profile with strong bittersweet notes throughout. Up front we were greeted with dark berries such as blackberry and raspberry. It's still a relatively "spicy" cup, but more in line with sarsaparilla or even licorice root. There's lots of cacao in the finish alongside hints of aromatic wood. The darker roast profiles made a nice Single Origin (SO) espresso, and would also be a great component to an espresso blend. There was a lot of dark fruits in our shots, and a really nice huckleberry acidity. Whether cup or SO espresso, like all Yemeni coffee, Ismaili benefits from a few days rest. 48 hours is great but we found 72 hours to be best. This is even more true for espresso. The SO espresso was very intense and complex. With Ismaili it's fun to try a melange of 1/3 City+ roast and 2/3 FC or FC+ roast, either for drip or espresso.
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We are currently out of stock. The review above is provided for your reference.
To view reviews for out of stock coffees, visit our Yemen Coffee Archives.
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This page is authored by Thompson Owen and Sweet Maria's Coffee, Inc. and is not to be copied or reproduced without permission