Producer: Ahmed Subeih
Altitude: 7,025 - 7,900 feet
Variety: Udainy (Heirloom Typica)
Complex flavors of butterscotch, green apple, orange marmalade, and hints of cedar.
This coffee was brought to our attention through our friends at Port of Mokha, an up-and-coming importing company focused on specialty coffee from Yemen. A few years ago, Equator was introduced to Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Bay Area based, Yemeni-American coffee entrepreneur who was actively working with coffee farmers in Yemen. His goal is to educate coffee producers so that they can improve quality and help establish connections between farmers and roasters.
We were very impressed this year with the quality of coffee we sampled from Port of Mokha partners. One coffee in particular stood out, this micro-lot from farmer Ahmed Subeih. Perhaps micro-lot is too substantial a term for this coffee. Ahmed’s farm has just 400 trees, this micro-lot represents the entirety of his specialty coffee production for the year. He and his brother, who owns an adjacent farm, were early adopters in their commitment to specialty coffee. Since they began working with Port of Mokha couple of years ago, hundreds of other community members have begun participating in specialty coffee production. One benefit of this new focus is the removal of qat (or khat,) a plant with leaves that contain an amphetamine-like stimulant. In the first year working in the region, farmers removed 14,000 qat trees to make room for coffee, and many more have been removed since.
In the past, offers from Yemen often showed flavors of dry wood, which can be an indication that the coffee is old. Coffee producers in Yemen have been known to hold on to their coffee as a form of currency, only selling when cash is needed. This practice and the tradition of blending many small lots together to form exportable quantities, leads to inconsistency within given lots. At its best, coffee from Yemen can be like this micro-lot -- sweet, fruit-forward, exhibiting the classic winey flavor the origin is known for.