Coffee made its way to Yemen from Ethiopia. As the cultivation of coffee increased in Yemen exporting began from the ancient port of Al-Makha (it is to this port the modern term “Mocha” traces its origin.) Soon raw beans were smuggled out of Yemen and these Yemen coffee beans gave birth to what we see today as multiple varietals of coffee grown all over the world. But Yemen coffee remains unique.
In Yemen coffee is traditionally grown at high elevations in harsh environments receiving little rainfall. Consequently, the varietals that developed in Yemen had to survive a harsh climate. They are the result of centuries of adaptation to these unique conditions – thus the varietals themselves are unique to Yemen. In addition the added stress of these conditions on the plants increases the amount of nutrients and sugars pushed to the cherries which ultimately increases cup complexity. Due to the lack of rainfall, Yemen coffee has always been sun-dried (natural) further increasing the sweetness of the cup. Ultimately Yemen coffee and its history are much like Yemen itself: mysterious, intriguing and complex.
Unfortunately coffee production in Yemen has declined significantly over the last few decades. The foundational problem in recent years is a lack of understanding between the coffee people of Yemen and the specialty coffee market. Enter Mocha Mill
They are one of the first specialty coffee exporters in Yemen. Mocha Mill began its journey into Specialty coffee in 2014. This was after they conducted a feasibility study in producing and exporting specialty coffee.
Harazi is located to the southwest of the Saana governorate. The total area is about 1200 square kilometres. In addition, the population is estimated at 100,000 people. Moreover, the area consists of high mountains, plateaus and valleys.
There are a variety of crops grown here. The cultivation of coffee beans is the most famous. In total there are about 2000 farmers in this region. There are 9 collection stations in this region. Mocha Mill have been working here for 4. They work with the same farmers building relationships. These farmers are now trained on how to produce high quality coffee.