Bani Al Areef
This Insight aims to source complex and fruit-driven coffees that go against tradition and don't taste like most coffees. We want to introduce a specific lot each month from the higher end of the speciality market from producers that are experimenting with their methods and processes. All these coffees will score at least 87 points and will be roasted light to bring out the natural characteristics of the bean. As with all our coffees they will be single-origin and sourced via direct trade.
More suited for filter brewing, but can be used as espresso with light roast parameters.
Coffee is grown in Yemen in mountainous areas up high on plateau’s and in valleys that are between 1600 – 2100 masl in altitude. It is known for being the first place to cultivate coffee after it was brought to the region in the 15th Century by Sufi Monks from here it grew with coffee being exported it the 16th Century from the port of Al-Makha which gave birth to the name of the Mocha drink known around the world today. In the 19th Century exports of coffee reached more than 57,000 MT at its peak which is a very different story to today with less than 20,000 MT. The coffee is produced on small, terraced farms in high mountains in very simple ways. All coffee is hand-picked, grown with the use of natural organic fertilizers and dried and dried on raised beds or roof tops.
These coffees have been sourced through Mocha Mill one of the first specialty coffee exporters in Yemen. Mocha Mill embarked on its journey into Specialty coffee in Yemen in 2014 when they decided to do a feasibility studies in producing and exporting specialty coffee. They were able to get coffees out to the USA in the first season to be cupped and graded to help them understand the quality they had. Unfortunately, at this time the country broke out into civil war in 2014 but this did not stop them continuing their journey and over the years has led them to establish supply chains in 6 different regions in Yemen. Within this time, they have also built a dry mill in 2017 in Samat where they also have invested in a colour sorter as well and state of the art milling equipment and building warehouses for drying experimental coffees. In 2021 they have produced and exported in total about 10 containers of 80 + Specialty coffee around the World to Japan, Australia, Middle East, UK And Europe.
Mocha Mill have focused on working with farmers throughout Yemen making them the focus of their work. They have been educating them on best agricultural practices to improve the yield and quality of the coffee produced from their trees. A key part of their strategy is to empower the farmers and especially the women as they make up about 75% of the farmers in Yemen. They work with full transparency with their farmers to build long lasting relationships. The farmers are paid on delivery of the cherry to the buying point in each of the regions that Mocha Mill have established.
This incorporates striving to implement the highest coffee quality control standards, specifications and protocols to improve the lives of all Yemenis involved in the coffee supply chain.
Traditionally farmers in Yemen they work on small plots from 60 – 70 trees to 400 – 500 trees. The variety mainly is Jaadi /Udhini which is a large tree known for its good production. On average famers will produce around 1500kg of cherry which equates to about 3 bags of 60kg exportable coffee. Across all the farmers the average price paid for cherry was $2.47/kg of cherry for those who work with Mocha Mill. Famers mainly earn income from coffee but some also grow Qat (Khat) which as a strong legal internal market within Yemen. It is also chewed daily by 90% of the population.
As part of their focus they are placing sustainability at the center of their business practises. Yemen is a country facing drought and water shortages. Mocha Mill are implementing innovative irrigation and dry processing techniques to address water scarcity and reduce impact on the communities and their access to such a precious source.
All the coffees once stable are then taken to the Mocha Mill warehouse in Sana’a where they are stored in ecotact and then cupped and assorted according to quality. From here they are then milled, colour sorted and then hand-picked before being bagged in 30kgs in preparation for export.
In the districts of Sana'a governorate, located to the southwest of the governorate, the total area is about 1276 square kilometers. The population is estimated at 100,000 people.
The area consists of high mountains, plateaus and valleys, that reach an altitude of about 1700-2100 m above sea level. There are a variety of crops, and the cultivation of coffee beans is the most famous of these. In total there are about 2000 farmers in this region.
There are 9 collection stations in this region and approximately farmers will deliver coffees every 3 – 4 days in the season. Mocha Mill have been working here for 4 years and the same farmers building relationships who they have trained on how to produce high quality coffee.
The Mocha Mill team were able to work alongside the producers during the season executing harvest plans to take care of the trees and then in the harvest send the fresh picked cherry directly to the wet mill they had established.
Beni Al - Areef
More than twenty thousand coffee trees planted in the village of Beni Al-Areef, west of Haraz, It is owned by twenty farmers who cultivate coffee as a main source of income for the village which is about 16 km from the center of Manakhah District.
Coffee is cultivated on the agricultural terraces that reach an altitude of 1700 M above sea level.
The exact history of coffee cultivation in the village of Beni Al-Areef is unknown, but the cultivation of coffee in Haraz was known about 400 years ago, as farmers still inherit its cultivation and harvesting it in the same traditional way, while no modern machines for cultivation, irrigation or harvesting have reached the village of Beni Al-Areef.
Carbonic Maceration process
The fermentation process is carried out using carbon soaking in sealed tanks, equipped with tubes to extract the air from the tanks then, carbon dioxide is pumped into the tanks, where the coffee remains for a period ranging from two to five days, depending on the pH level (4) after which, the coffee beans are dried in the sun for two to three days, depending on the temperature of the sun. Thus, the slow drying phase begins in the shade for a period of up to 40 days, during which , the coffee beans are stirred regularly while monitoring and recording the humidity levels.