ICON 29 – Peaberry Anoxic Natural
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This is a modern day approach to processing, within a community of farming families who have been producing coffees for hundreds of years. This natural lot has had an anoxic fermentation which leads to a rich and complex flavour profile. We taste blackberry jam, pomegranate and mandarins with a syrupy sweetness.
PRODUCER: Ghaleb Alhamasi
PREPARATION Natural, Anoxic Fermentation
LOCATION: Haraz, West of Sana'a, Yemen
ALTITUDE: 1,800 – 2,200 masl
BAG SIZE: 150g
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. This micro-lot comes from Ghaleb Alhamasi, who carefully processed this tiny lot using an anoxic (oxygen free) fermentation in GrainPro bags for three days before before sun-drying for three weeks on raised beds. To prevent the cherries from developing mould whilst drying, they are raked and turned throughout the day and then covered at night or during rain storms.
Haraz is located to the west of the capital city of Sana’a in the northwest highlands of Yemen. Coffee is grown in the valley at elevations of up to a staggering 2,400 metres in rich volcanic soil. The flavour profile for the region is typically one with a full body, overtones of dried fruits like raisins, a fruity acidity, and a smooth chocolate finish.
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.
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.