Population (2006): 21.4 million People
Coffee Production: 50,000 bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds – 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: practically none
Coffee Export: 50,000 bags (60 kg)
Cultivated Area: About 7700 hectares (19,000 acres)
Arabica Introduced: Around the 6th century from Ethiopia.
Specialty Coffee Regions:Bani Mattar (Mattari), Haraz (Harazi), Bani Ismail (Ismaili), San’ani
Farms: About 300,000 very small family owned farms.
Botanical Varietals: Heirloom
Cup characteristics: Very fragrant. Wild, exotic flavor notes. Acidic, very winey, long finish, clean. Tangy. Characteristic dark chocolate mouthfeel.
Authentic Mocha coffee is from Yemen and Matari coffee is perhaps its best known. It is from the Bani Mattar region area located west of the capital city of Sana’a. This is very high altitude coffee, grown 6500 to 7000 feet, resulting in small, concentrated beans.
Not much has changed over the centuries as to how Yemen coffee is processed. In the manner of all natural coffees the fruit pulp and skin are left to dry while still attached to the beans.
Once dried the husk is removed using a millstone. The varietals used in growing this coffee are ancient, heirloom species. The more widely known is Ismaili but there are many less familiar names.
The home roaster can really play with this coffee as different roasts produce vastly different qualities. Roast it lightly and unevenly to accentuate the acidity and wild character. A city to full city will produce the chocolate texture on your tongue and awaken deeper, tangier levels of development. Dark roasts, which often mask delicate flavors and floral notes in some coffees, can bring out hidden depth with this one. It will not taste like other dark roasted coffees unless you take it too far.
Yemen was the first county to cultivate coffee. The legendary Omar and Kaldi ascribed the power of Yemen coffee as life affirming. Mocha itself is shrouded in myth and has become synonymous with coffee. All Yemen coffees are naturals meaning the coffee is dried in its husk without fermentation, then milled. While not certified as organic, Yemen coffee is grown as it has been for hundreds of years, without man-made fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Yemen produces truly world class coffee.