This lot comprises fresh coffee cherries collected at Markaz ul Najmi, a privately owned collection center in Haraaz that collaborates with Al-Ezzi in the collection and tracing of high-quality coffee cherry from farmers in the area.
Fresh as can be! For those who had the Haraaz offering last season, this cup is a little more fruit forward, a bit cleaner with complimenting chocolaty undertones and some rocking spice notes. A great year for it.
Yemeni coffee has the second-longest history in the world, after Ethiopian coffee, and truly specialty coffee from Yemen is both elusive and exquisite. Coming from Al-Ezzi Industries, a development and export company based in Haraaz, Yemen, and founded by Shabbir A. Ezzi, an entrepreneur whose focus is on both quality of coffee and quality of life for producers.
Al-Ezzi works with smallholder producers in the mountains of Haraaz, offering them considerably higher than local market prices for their coffee, and providing traceability and transparency for pricing and supply chain logistics to both the producers and to our buddies @ Cafe Imports, who is the importer behind Harraz coffees in the US. Coffees are bought at several different quality tiers for Al-Ezzi, which allows producers to both work within their traditional practices and transition to a full specialty focus. Producers are issued ID cards for their work with Al-Ezzi, and those ID cards are used to track the quality, quantity, and payment for their lots in the different tiers. Al-Ezzi encourages producers to replace their narcotic qat plants with coffee, and provides support through several receiving stations throughout the area.
This lot comprises fresh coffee cherries collected at the Markaz ul Najmi that collaborates with Al-Ezzi in the collection and tracing of high-quality coffee cherry from farmers in the area.
Altitude: 1900 – 2440 masl
Varieties: Tuffahi, Dawairi, Jaadi, various other heirloom varieties
Tasting Notes: Fruit, spice, and chocolate tones mix to create a very tasty cup profile. Lighter roasts will show some acidity upfront but it’s soft and sweet. First tones to hit the tongue will be exotic fruitiness that will vary between tropical and stone fruit dependent on roast; balanced with small hints of chocolaty spice. Medium roasts mute some of the fruitier aspects of the cup and lesson the acidity but bring forth much more depth to the chocolaty spice. Darker roasts mute most of the fruity factor and turn the cup a bit bittersweet- although still exotic and tasty at a darker roast, one loses those awesome lighter tones that demand the higher price on these beans.
Roasting Notes: Yemen is usually old world natural processed – high chaff and a bit uneven roasting. These beans however, still have a bit higher chaff but are much much more even roasting than most other Yemen’s we have come across.
Farmers are paid higher prices for delivering fresh-picked ripe cherry as opposed to the dried cherry that Yemeni producers have usually brought to market, which allows Al-Ezzi to control the processing more meticulously and achieve exceptional cups. There are five quality tiers Al-Ezzi currently assigns to coffees delivered to the receiving stations:
- Moka – A workhorse lot of reliably good but not microlot-quality dried cherries from many producers which offers an above-standard quality at an affordable price.
- Haraaz Traceable – Dried cherries purchased directly from producers who are identified using their ID cards with Al-Ezzi.
- Haraaz Fresh – Fresh coffee cherries purchased directly from producers who are identified using their ID cards with Al-Ezzi.
- Haraaz Red – Fresh red cherries purchased directly from producers who have gone the extra mile to sort out any undesirable cherries, identified using their ID cards with Al-Ezzi.
- Haraaz Microlot – Fresh red cherries bought from a single producer and kept separated from the larger blended lots.
Farmers who deliver to Al-Ezzi receive more than 88% of the FOB price of their coffee.
Keith P. –
I have this one in my “rarities” bin, so I hadn’t tried it yet, but I did recently. This bean has lots of personality – it’s still got the chocolatey backend I’d expect, but there’s just a lot going on under the covers. Definitely an “Oh, wow!” cup.