From Kelly: #66 Yemen Al-Ezzi Grand Crew
Specs at a Glance
Region: Sharqi Haraaz
Farm: Various Smallholder Farmers
Variety: Tuffahi, Dawairi, Jaadi, various other heirloom varieties
I am very excited to introduce you to our newest limited release coffee, #66 from Yemen. This is a grand cru coffee that truly takes you on a journey… even if you are just in your living room. I had the pleasure of meeting the producer of this coffee, Shabbir A. Ezzi via Zoom with Cafe Imports and learned so much about not only his innovative practices but also the uniqueness of Yemeni coffee on the whole.
For those of us that don’t know exactly where Yemen is on the map (I didn’t): it is located on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula neighboring Saudi Arabia and Oman, directly across from Djibouti. Yemen was the first country to produce coffee and supplied the surrounding area for several hundred years prior to its spreading across the globe. Interestingly, many people from Yemen, including Shabbir, strongly believe that the coffee plant originally came from Yemen as well. Though this is highly debated, the fact that the first species of coffee is known as Coffee Arabica is a fairly convincing argument.
Fun fact alert: all coffee from Yemen will be a natural process. Traditionally, coffee is dried on rooftops and could be stored for up to 7 years! For many farmers, coffee is treated as a currency and sold as needed. Shabbir is starting to change some of these age-old practices.
Shabbir has a keen sense of social responsibility which is paired with a passion for achieving the highest quality within the cup. This all starts with encouraging farmers to deliver ripe red cherries instead of the dried cherries. This allows for more modern and innovative processing methods, ensuring high quality.
Furthermore, Shabbir uses a fair value purchasing system which ensures at least 80% of the FOB price (free on board price) goes back to the farmers. This hugely incentivices not only good farming practices but also the choice to grow coffee instead of the other more popular cash crop, khat (a narcotic).
Finally, all coffee from Yemen tends to share highly unique flavor profiles. The aromatics will be reminiscent of warm baking spices and sandalwood. Additionally, the mouthfeel will tend to be syrupy and have a weight in the body.
In the Cup: We taste a complex and full body, with notes of milk chocolate and guava.