ICON 25 – Wadi Alsail Community Lot
SUBSCRIBE HERE AND RECEIVE AN ICON COFFEE EVERY MONTH FOR LESS THAN THE RETAIL PRICE
Yemeni coffees are always interesting and have some fantastic flavour profiles. This coffee is produced by a small farming community in East Haraz and is beautifully tropical and sweet. We taste mango lassi, tangerine, milk chocolate and gentle baking spices.
PRODUCER: Smallholder Farmers
CULTIVAR: Ja'adi & Dawari
LOCATION: East Haraz, Yemen
ALTITUDE: 1,800 – 2,000 masl
BAG SIZE: 150g
This coffee comes from small farms in a valley called Wadi Alsail, located between three mountains in the East Haraz region. The name translates to “The Torrent Valley’’ as this is where rain water passes through, coming down from the encircling mountains. Here they grow two cultivars which are amongst the oldest in Yemen which are prized for their complexity. The trees have been passed down through many generations over the last five centuries and are currently being well looked after by cousins Mustafa and Rajih, who are improving quality and sustainability.
This coffee was sourced by Mocha Hunters, a company set up by three friends from Yemen whose aim is to source totally traceable lots and bring Yemeni coffee to a wider global audience. They are also helping to spread awareness of the plight of the Arabic Tiger, a type of leopard native to Yemen, which is currently being hunted close to extinction. Mocha Hunters have been working side by side with farmers and producers in the Haraz region through the open innovation approach by visiting, sharing knowledge, sample roasting and cupping in order to improve quality and focus on consistency. They also aim to connect farmers and roasters, to share and understand both worlds.
Coffee in Haraz is grown by communities of smallholder farmers who typically blend their harvests together to produce enough volume to export. The cherries are harvested in the dry autumn season when the fruit ripens and is then dried traditionally on rooftops but more often now on patios or raised African beds.
Yemen was the first country to cultivate coffee commercially and it was from the historic port of Mocha that coffee was first introduced to the rest of the world. Coffee grows in the central mountain regions and the landrace varieties found here have naturally mutated and adapted to their environment over the centuries and have incredibly unique flavour profiles. Coffee is still grown as it was over five hundred years ago, on terraces clinging to the sides of semi-arid mountains below ancient stone villages that rise like geometric extensions of the mountains themselves. During the dry winter, water collected in small reservoirs often is directed to the roots of the coffee trees to help them survive until the light rains of the summer return.
The huge demand for Yemeni coffee, combined with limited production, high production costs and difficulties in exporting goods from a war zone mean that these coffees are highly sought after and sell for really high prices and it’s often very difficult to provide much traceability.