|Processing||Dry Process (Natural)|
|Drying Method||Sun Dried on Rooftop|
|Arrival date||Apr 19 2012|
|Cultivar Detail||Mokha Heirloom|
|Appearance||1.4 d/300gr, 15-16 Screen|
|Roast Recommendations||C+ to F+ _‹_ Winey fruited backdrop exists in the light and dark roasts, and bittersweet dark chocolate pervades the FC+ to Vienna roast levels. Allow proper resting (see review)|
Bani Matar is one of the few coffees from the growing regions surrounding the high-altitudes of Sana'a that was traditionally kept separate. All others were mixed to form "Sana'ani coffee" with decidedly mixed outcomes. But coffee in Bani Matar is a bit different, tall old-growth trees that appear like a fruit orchard than a typical coffee farm (well, NO coffee production in Yemen looks like a coffee farm anywhere else!) When I traveled in Yemen last November, the Matari coffees where not ready to cup yet, it was too early in the harvest. And after we were stranded in a mountain town in Ismaili overnight, our itinerary to visit Bani Matar was disrupted. Yet when our shipment of coffees that were a direct result of the trip finally arrived at the Port of Oakland, the Matari was a real standout coffee.
Matari has a rustic appeal with syrupy sweetness, dry to ripe fruit notes, earth and spice notes, and so much more. We certainly give them a pass in cleanliness given the long road Yemeni coffee takes before final export, but it is not a stretch to say they are some of the most complex coffees out there. The dry fragrance has an impressive mix of dried fruit character from the get-go, with notes of chai spice, sandalwood, and musky tobacco. The wet aromatics go from honey to wood-spice incense, as well as a smell of cooked pumpkin and brown sugar.
With Full City+ the fruit is still present, but somewhat eclipsed by dark chocolate roast tones. There's a rustic, woody maple syrup sweetness in the wet aroma, and a trace of mango in the lighter roasts. The body seems thick and dense, and overall this cup has a very deep, subdued range. After comparing the Matari side by side to the Ismaili and Harasi (as well as several others that did not meet our mark) this dark fruited bitter-sweetness is so apparent. Yemeni coffees need rest after roasting. They have more aromatics at 12 hours or 24 hours, but really develop at 72+ hours of rest after roasting. This is even more true for espresso. The Matari as Single Origin (SO) espresso is very dense: It reminds me quite a bit of Scharfen-berger 70% bittersweet chocolate. But I preferred the Ismaili and Sharasi for espresso.