Yemen is a country with so much folklore, ancient architecture, wild nature and incredible coffee. Its people are meant to be wonderful, its food delicious and its landscapes breathtaking. If only one could freely travel there but sadly, Yemen has also been plagued by a never-ending civil war that has destroyed much of the country, left millions hungry and devastated the economy.
When this conflict might end is not clear but what is for sure is that Yemeni people are the ones suffering the most. It’s hard to find anything positive in this dreadful reality but getting access to a spectacular Yememi coffee that we are proud to share as part of our eighth GEMS edition is something very special indeed.
This coffee comes from producer Hassan Al Amer in the Haraz mountains, a region in Central Yemen that is famed for its terraced plantations where coffee is grown amongst other crops. Getting coffee out of Yemen is still extremely difficult and dangerous, which makes it very costly and rare.
While some people have risen to fame in recent years, in particular Mokhtar Alkhanshali of Port of Mokha who brought Yememi coffee out of obsurity and turned into a delicacy not unlike caviar. Many roasters have since had a bit of Yemeni coffeee here and there but despite its growing popularity, we never tasted a clean and delicious Yemeni coffee that made us want to feature it.
Until now. When I reached out to Gardelli a few weeks ago to suggest a GEMS feature to this one-time Coffeevine partner from back in 2016, they sent me their current offerings and two coffees stood out for me. A Gesha from Colombia and this one. A cupping this past Monday offered an opportunity to get a taste of both and though the Colombia is outstanding, this Yemeni coffees was the clear favourite.
I am also thrilled to finally welcome back Rubens Gardelli, the former World Roasting Champion and stalwart of the Italian specialty coffee world. Though he is a great friend of The Coffeevine, his coffees are usually way out of budget for our regular Coffeevine box, which meant that only a GEMS feature would ever be possible.
This is an anaerobic natural processed coffee consisting of heirloom varieties. There are only 40 bags available in total, which you can order on the GEMS #8 product page now.