YEMEN - Peacock


Technically, Yemen is on the Asian continent (on the Arabian Peninsula) although it is really just a stone’s throw from Africa, across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. For coffee reasons, and since there is no other “Arabian” coffee, we put it in the family of tastes that are North African.
Now, what is Mocha? Al Mokha (Al-Mahka) is the port city that Yemeni coffee ships from! It has nothing to do with chocolate. Why is the coffee called Mokha? Because in the coffee trade it was too complicated to name all the little sub-regions where the coffee is actually grown, even though they do produce notably different coffees in terms of the cup. Many of the dry-process Ethiopian coffees will also call themselves Mocha: Mocha Harar etc. Yemeni are one of the most distinct and prized coffees in the world, but this is what we call a “wild” or natural cup …Earthy, complex, pungent —to some it may be strange and bitter. Yemen has a coffee culture like no other place, and perhaps some of what we enjoy in this cup is due to their old style of trade. Exporters do not buy from farms, but through an extensive network of middlemen. Local buyers receive coffee in the pod, the entire dried cherry, and that is stored, usually in underground caverns! The coffee actually exported is usually the oldest of their stocks, not new crop coffee! But this is the way it has been, and is one reason that new Yemen arrivals often have moisture content readings in the 10.5% range. Yemeni growers are not hurt by this system with so many middlemen, largely because the coffee land under cultivation is limited, production is fairly low due to high altitude and limited inputs, and the crop is in such high demand. Competition from the Saudis also keeps Yemeni coffee prices very high.