From the district of Sharasi, north of the capital Sana'a. Intense sweet fragrance with dried apricot and sorghum syrup. Winey fruit notes, spice accents, sandalwood hints, sweet fruit, rustic chocolates. City+ to Full City+, and 3 days of rest. Makes great SO espresso.
Sharasi is a coffee from north of the capital city Sana'a, and a region I had never heard of before traveling to Yemen in November. But when we cupped the separated regional lots, lots normally blended to for the generic "Sana'ani" coffee, it was clear what Sharasi was contributing to the mix; clean sweet fruited flavors. What arrived here in the container of small-lots that resulted from the November '07 trip is a bit different from what we cupped there, more muted, lower in general tonality. But it keeps with the same theme; rustic sweet fruited notes, and quite "clean" in flavor for a Yemeni coffee. Since then we have offered Sharasi each year, as it always cups with a unique character, and often is the highest scoring of the Yemeni coffees as well.
The dry fragrance has strong sweetness in the light roast, sorghum syrup sweetness, slight winey fruits, with dried apricot. It shifts with darker roast levels, turning to aromatic wood notes (sandalwood scent) at FC+. There's a tons of fruit (winey grape notes, a bit of dried mango too) in the wet aroma, with sweet rye bread and butterscotch. Darker roasts are more pungent in aroma, "noir" in character, intense and less delicate. There's spicy star anise notes, sassafras, and cinnamon stick. All these aromatics give a pretty good hint of the cup flavors. The light roast cups a bit milder at first than one might anticipate from Yemeni coffees, but intensifies greatly as it cools. As with the aroma, the light roast cup is heavily fruited with dried apricot and red apple. There's a bit of butterscotch and cocoa nibs, somewhat rooty sweetness, herbs, chocolates. As it cools, more dried fruit notes emerge, like the real health-food store (unsulphered) dried apricot flavor. Sharasi at City+ roast is about as sweet as a Yemeni coffee gets. Darker roasts are complex but less sweet. But pull an SO Espresso shot of an FC+ roast and those apple-and-apricot fruit flavors re-emerge. Note that 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 SO Sharasi espresso. I did some test roasts specifically for SO espresso as soon as I realized what a balanced sweetness it had. Single-origin Yemen espresso from the usual exporters has always finished too hidey, leathery, dusty-dirty for me. But Sharasi works.