About the Producer
A small group of legacy farmers produces this Yemen coffee. They are located in the high mountains of Yemen’s northwestern Ṣaʿdah Governorate. These farmers comprise a grower coalition called the Khulani Coffee Society for Agricultural Development (KCSAD). KCSAD brings together farmers from across the Ṣaʿdah districts of Saqayn, Haydan, Ghamr, Razih, Monabbih, and Majz. Firstly, the aim of KCSAD is to inspire more ambitious farm investments and quality standards in harvest and post-harvest alike. Coffee sales and exports so far have started to increase since the group’s founding. Farmers are still meeting regularly, where they devise outreach campaigns to teach cultivation techniques. They strive to emphasize the economic potential of a well-run farm.
A family business founded in 1970, Pearl of Tehama, is the miller and exporter of KCSAD’s coffee. For many years, all coffee was exported under the name of the family patriarch and founder, Ali Hiba Muslot, until his death. Subsequently, in 1980 his three sons continued using the family name. Afterwards, in 2012, the business was split up. The coffee export business is still owned by Ms. Fatoum Muslot, the late Muslot’s daughter. Further, Fatoum’s eldest son, Yasser Al-Khaderi, is the company’s general manager.
About the Geography
Yemen is the oldest territory on Earth to cultivate coffee commercially. The word Arabica itself referred to the Arabian coffee supply that was the West’s first in history.
Maintaining coffee trees in a climate as dry, high, and uniquely challenging as Yemen’s western and northern ranges requires the kind of proven techniques that only generations of farming can bestow. terraced on incredibly steep and arid slopes are many coffee farms. Bore holes are manually dug in the rock to provide water to the trees in such an arid climate. Coffee trees are spaced generously, about 1000 per hectare (compared to 4000-6000 common in Latin America). This is both by necessity on the narrow terraces, as well as for better groundwater access and erosion control. Raising young coffee trees is a matter of hardening them for a lifetime of vicious elements and water scarcity. “Hanging gardens” is the local name for older coffee trees. They become very tall, and often end up hanging their branches over the terrace edge.
Yemen continues to suffer from protracted conflict that has cost many lives and displaced over 3 million people. Two-thirds of the country needs food or medical aid. Then, when new crop arrives, we pause to remember and honor the coffee and those who are responsible for its survival. One of the reasons the coffee is so special is that it hinges on a relationship of trust between our coffee broker, Royal Coffee, and the Muslot family.
Yemen’s ongoing civil war has not stopped the Muslot family and Pearl of Tehama from dutifully managing and exporting the coffee harvests of the farms and families they represent; something they can be very proud of given the conflict’s overwhelmingly ruinous effect on much of Yemen’s international trade. Not only this, but Pearl of Tehama has established a consultancy for other service providers in coffee, particularly exporters, to help expand Yemen’s coffee sector safety net. They even work to increase the coffee’s availability and competitiveness abroad. The guiding mission is to increase potential at both ends of the value chain: more available quality coffee from throughout Yemen’s historic producing territories.
Fatoum Muslot and her company are headquartered in Al Hudaydah, a busy port city that has been near the front lines of the country’s civil war. Her perspective on their ongoing business, despite adversity, is refreshing: “With regard to the coffee trade, we cannot stop our activity for many reasons, the most important of which is that we are dealing with a large number of families working with us in the field of coffee cultivation and trading especially coffee farmers in the production areas who do not have any kind of agricultural activities other than coffee. Therefore, we have a great and humanitarian responsibility towards these producing and working groups in the field of coffee.”
This Yemen is sweet, comforting, and surprisingly delicate. The body is thick and creamy, and the headliners are chocolatey and vanilla notes. There are a host of subtle flavors this coffee has to offer. On the floral side, it tends towards rose and orange; when the extraction is just right it can hint at raspberry and blueberry juiciness. Throughout, it remains chocolatey, malty, pleasantly astringent, and distinctly tasty. In conclusion, we can’t wait for you to try it!