Lot #9 - Yemen Coffee Auction
INTERNATIONAL JURY CUPPING SCORE
Cheery liqueur, kiwi fruit & bubblegum.
Farmer Group: Mutawasat Community
Region : Mutawasat / Haraaz / Sanaa
Elevation: 1,700 - 2,200m
Sourced Through: Upstream Imports & Qima Coffee
This lot gathers the production of 55 farmers from one of the most remote regions in Yemen. Coffee is their only source of income and they have spent their whole life on the farm. They started at a young age helping their parents on the farm and with time they inherited land and gained enough knowledge and skills to take responsibility for the farm.
What Is Yemenia?
A pure arabica mother population, unique to Yemen, that represents a new ocean of varieties with untapped potential to transform the genetic landscape of Coffea arabica in the world.
Whilst some coffee aficionados are aware of Yemen's rich coffee history, being the birthplace of the coffee drink, few are aware of Yemen's critical role in shaping arabica's genetics across the world.
In fact, over 98% of the world's known cultivated varieties of Coffea arabica, can be traced back to Yemen. The arabica species, which was found wild in the forests of Ethiopia, travelled to Yemen at least 600 years ago, where it was grown as a cultivated crop, likely for the first time in the crop’s history. As it went from the lush forests of Ethiopia to the arid mountains of Yemen, the genetics of the Yemeni trees would change over time to adapt to the new environment through domestication and natural selection. Coffee cultivation continued in Yemen for the next 300 years, during which the genetics of the Yemeni coffee trees gradually changed through domestication and a process known as genetic drift, such that they became distinctly different from their Ethiopian ancestors. These unique trees would go on to become the 'mother' trees of almost all of the cultivated varieties known today.
As part of Qima Coffee's R&D programme with Dr Christophe Montagnon, Qima undertook an ambitious project to investigate and map out Yemen's genetic landscape. After years of work, they conducted the largest genetic survey in Yemen's history, covering an area of over 25,000km2.
The results unveiled one of the most significant findings in coffee history.
About Qima Coffee
Established in 2016, initially sourcing from 30 farmers in one small community, today Qima works with over 2,600 farmers across 53 communities throughout Yemen’s coffee lands.
Operating directly at farm-level and working exclusively with fresh cherries, Qima Coffee is Yemen’s only fully integrated specialty coffee operator and the country’s largest specialty exporter.
They are re-introducing the world to one of the rarest and finest specialty coffees. In doing so, they aim to restore Yemen to its former glory as a globally renowned source of exquisite coffee.
Lot #9 - Yemen Coffee Auction
Toasted almonds, black cherry and dark chocolate.
The roast degree for our seasonal blend is a little more developed (darker) than our individual single origins - making it easier to use for espresso brewing and imparting it with less acidity. Also the right choice for those who enjoy more 'traditional' flavour profiles.
Fazenda Progresso (Natural) - Brazil
Small Producers of Caicedo - Colombia
Chire (Natural) - Ethiopia
For our seasonal blend we combine ethically traded and in-season single origin coffees to create something both delicious and dependable. For more information on the individual blend components click on the links above!
The coffee beans in this blend began as the seeds of coffee cherries - the seasonal fruit of a tropical forest shrub, grown predominantly in East Africa, Central and South America and Southeast Asia. before being roasted by us, those raw seeds had to be nurtured, carefully hand picked when ripe, fermented, dried and exported. It is a long supply chain fraught with difficulties - that sip of coffee you're enjoying began a long way away and is the result of the hard work of many people.
Our roaster's choice coffee subscription.
Ethically traded, freshly roasted coffee delivered to your door every month? Couldn't be easier! Chose any combination of quantity, size, grind and frequency and we'll keep you supplied with a rotating selection of our unique and delicious single origins.
For filter coffee drinkers we recommend this - the Roaster's Choice Subscription and for the espresso drinkers out there we suggest the Seasonal Blend subscription.
Shipping is charged as per usual - that is receive FREE shipping on any subscriptions of more than 250g per delivery.
Toasted nuts, butterscotch and milk chocolate.
Region: Chapada Diamantina
Altitude: 1,150m above sea level
Owner: Borré Family
Awards: Cup of Excellence 2015 #15
Sourced Through: Melbourne Coffee Merchants
Fazenda Progresso is a beautiful farm nestled in the Chapada Diamatina mountain range in the heart of Bahia. The farm is surrounded by the Chapada Diamantina National Park, known for its mountainous cliff formations (Chapada) and 19th century diamond mining (Diamantina).
The history of Fazenda Progresso dates back to 1984, when the Borré family migrated from southern Brazil to the northeast and purchased some land in the municipality of Ibicoara, near the town of Mucugê. In the early years, the family tried growing crops such as soybeans, wheat, and English potatoes. The potatoes turned out to be an incredibly successful crop, stimulating investments and making the family one of the largest producers of potatoes in Brazil!
In 2005, the Borré family sought to diversify the activities on their land, and so began to focus on coffee. As MCM learnt when they first met the family, when they commit to a new project, they seek to do it to the very highest possible standard. Their work with coffee is no exception. The family’s commitment to producing exceptional coffee has been unwavering over the last decade. They have sought advice from some of the most respected professionals in the field, including Silvio Leite, founder of the Cup of Excellence and president of the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association, with 30 years’ experience in coffee grading, tasting, and quality control.
The Borré family has invested heavily to ensure that they have the very best infrastructure to process coffee, which allows them to control quality every step of the way, from picking right through to export. They have a dedicated quality control lab with a talented cupping team headed up by Ednaldo Nascimento (AKA ‘Gandula’—nicknamed after the boy that replaces the ball during a soccer match)! Gandula and his team assess every lot of coffee produced and ensure that the quality is the very best it can be.
The Borrés are very hands-on in their approach to managing the farm. They are extremely professional in the way they conduct their business, and they take great care to create an excellent work environment for their staff. Throughout the year, there are around 200 permanent staff members on the farm, and this number grows to 650 during the harvest. Many of these harvest workers return every year, and all are provided with daily bus transportation and food.
In total, 700 hectares of the property are dedicated to coffee; this land is divided up into different plots, which are processed separately. Over time, the family has worked out the optimum way to plant coffee trees in order to maximise productivity, with 50 centimetres between each tree and three metres between each row of trees. This year we have purchased coffee from four different plots on the property; each is extremely unique in its profile, and all are exceptional!
The Borré family business has always been managed and directed by family members and is now in its third generation of operation. Fabiano Borré looks after everything to do with the coffee side of the business. He is young, focused and very motivated to produce the very best coffee he can. You can read an interview with Fabiano Borré here.
Dark chocolate, toasted hazelnuts and mulberries.
Processing: Fully Washed
Varietals: Colombia, Caturra & Typica
Sourced Through: Caravela Coffee
This lot is a blend of coffee from small producers in Pitalito, Huila that was decaffeinated in Colombia (the same country as that which the coffee was grown) using ethylacetate - a by product derived from fermented sugar cane - which was also grown in Colombia! Ethylacetate is an ester that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, apples and - coffee. The result is an incredibly fresh, clean and sweet, naturally decaffeinated coffee.
Mandarin, black tea and bergamot.
Washing Station: Hadeso
Owner: Faysel A. Yonis
Region: Guji, Sidamo
Processing: Fully Washed
Elevation: 1,800 - 1,950m
Variety: Heirloom Bourbon & Typica
Sourced Through: Melbourne Coffee Merchants & Testi Coffee
Hadeso (pronounced “Had-ess-o”) is a privately-owned washing station that is located in the Shakisso ‘woreda’ (administrative district) in the Guji locality in Ethiopia’s renowned coffee region, Sidamo, in the south-east of the country. It is named after the ‘kebele’ (local village) of Hadeso. The washing station is one of ten owned and managed by Testi Coffee, a family-owned company founded by Mr Faysel A. Yonis. Hadeso produces exceptional washed and natural processed lots.
Coffee is delivered daily to Hadeso by around 850 small local coffee growers. The majority of these families farm organically on tiny plots of land, which average just 2–5 hectares in size. Coffee is their main cash crop and grows alongside food crops of corn, grain and bananas, under the shade of native Birbira, Wanza, and Acacia trees. The average elevation of the farms in this region is very high – around 1,900–2,050m above sea level – and this, combined region’s cool temperatures, is ideal for the slow ripening of coffee cherries, leading to denser beans and a sweeter, more complex cup profile.
This coffee lot was produced as part of Testi’s quality improvement initiative, Premium Cherry Selection (PCS). Launched in 2018, the Premium Cherry Selection program ensures that best practices are used for growing, harvesting and processing the coffee cherry. Through the program, Testi pay a premium to farmers who pick and deliver only the ripest cherries from their farms. Coffees produced as part of the program represent the highest quality and cleanest cup profile available from the washing station and wider region.
About Testi Coffee
Testi Coffee was established in 2009 by Mr Faysel A. Yonis as a coffee exporting company. Testi’s objective is to build long term relationships with buyers and growers by producing exceptional coffees and establishing transparent business practices. Today, the company owns ten washing stations – located in Guji, West Arsi, Sidama and Yirgacheffe – which are operated with meticulous attention to sorting, screening and processing, with the goal of achieving the highest coffee quality. The company aims to secure high prices for their coffees, which allows them to pay fair and sustainable prices to the growers who deliver cherries to their washing stations.
Testi’s business model is to buy coffee cherry from local ‘out-growers’ (an Ethiopian term for a smallholder farmer who contributes to a particular washing station) to be processed at their own washing stations, as well as coffee in parchment from partner washing stations. The company is committed to maximising the potential and profitability of Ethiopian coffees and works closely with their producing farmers and washing station partners to improve the quality and yields of the coffee at farm level and in processing.
The company’s philosophy revolves around supporting and growing with the farming communities that produce their coffee. Mr Faysel strongly believes that increased rewards for the out-growers should be shared with, and benefit, the entire community. In pursuit of this goal, Testi has launched a social program called Project Direct, which focuses on directly supporting coffee farmers and their families in tangible and positive ways. Project Direct initiatives are funded by Testi and are designed to motivate and empower farming communities, develop social conditions and improve livelihoods. To date, Project Direct has built a primary school in both Aricha and Guji, where they fund all school supplies and provide financial support and scholarships to top performing students. The project has also helped communities’ access clean water and electricity in the remote areas around their washing stations. Beyond providing increased opportunities, such initiatives contribute to improved safety, healthcare and productivity at the farm level.
About the Guji Region
The Guji zone was established as a unique production area in 2002. It is located in the Southern portion of Sidamo and is named after the Oromo people: a tribe with a long, proud history in coffee production.
Coffees from Guji were previously classified as ‘Sidamo’ (a very wide geographical classification encompassing much of central-south Ethiopia), however more recently they have been separated from this classification and recognised for their unique and distinctive cup profiles. This distinctiveness is driven by the unique combination of elements in this production area, including high altitudes, rich, fertile soil, and exceptional heirloom varieties.
Guji is bordered on the south and west by Borena, on the north by Gedeo and Sidama, and on the east by Bale and the Somali Region. Coffees that are classified as ‘Gujis’, originate from the ‘woreda’ (administrative regions) of Adoola Redi, Uraga, Kercha, Bule Hora, and Shakisso, which is where this lot is from.
Most communities in the region still live rurally and make a living from farming. Coffee remains the major cash crop for most families in the Guji region, who grow coffee alongside food for consumption.
About the Sidamo Zone
Sidamo is a wide geographical classification that encompasses much of central-south Ethiopia and includes renowned coffee producing localities such as Yirgacheffe, Kochere, West Arsi, Bensa and Guji. Sidamo is located in Ethiopia’s South East Coffee Zone, extending across the states of Southern Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR), one of nine ethnically based regional states of Ethiopia. The Sidamo zone is named for the Sidama people; a tribe with a long and proud history of coffee production. After a 2019 Referendum, the zone is currently awaiting separation from the SNNPR and transformation into an autonomous Sidamo Region.
Sidamo is a renowned coffee area and produces exceptional natural and washed coffees that showcase an extremely diverse range of flavour profiles. Coffees from Sidamo are noted for their intensely fruit-forward, tea-like, floral and complex character and are sought after worldwide. It is widely accepted that the coffee species, Arabica, originated in the lush forests of southern forests of Ethiopia and hence growing conditions in this area are perfectly suited for producing exquisite coffees.
Coffee has been cultivated in the Sidamo Zone for centuries and is an important source of income for rural households, who grow it as the primary cash crop. Family plots are small and intensively farmed with intercropped coffee, food crops like pulses, grain and yams, and other cash crops like khat (similar to tobacco) and Ethiopian banana. Most farms are planted amongst or alongside indigenous forest trees, which provide a thick canopy of shade for the coffee trees. Historically, farmers in this area will use organic farming practices (although it is unlikely to be certified) as there is no ready access to artificial fertilisers or pesticides.
This coffee is a mix of varieties that we refer to as “heirloom varieties”. This is a term that is all-encompassing and used by many actors in the coffee industry to generally categorize Ethiopian coffee varieties that are from native forest origins. Whilst this describes many of the varieties found in Ethiopia, it is also a bit simplistic and does not recognise varieties that have been specifically developed and widely distributed by the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (JARC) or locally recognised and cultivated varieties. This is a term that is all-encompassing and used by many actors in the coffee industry to generally categorise Ethiopian coffee varieties that are from native forest origins.
JARC varieties are developed for disease and pest resistance, rather than cup profile, and are released by number. For example, 74110, 74112 and 74116 are all widely propagated in the Sidamo growing region. There are also native or “landrace” varieties in the region that were originally selected from the forest and have been propagated in the Sidamo region for decades. There are five popular ones that all have been named after indigenous trees in the area—they are Bedessa, Kudhumi, Mique, Sawe and Walichu. There is little documentation on the history of these varieties, and it is hard to know if they represent single varieties or a wider group of varieties, however, it is widely accepted that they play a major role in the quality of the coffee from this region, with a distinctive floral and citric cup profile.
This coffee has been processed using the washed method, using fresh, clean water. It is classified as Grade 1, the highest quality classification for Ethiopian coffees, indicating a great deal of effort has been put into the selection and grading during processing.
Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to the Hadeso washing station and are meticulously sorted by hand and in a floatation tank prior to processing to remove unripe, overripe, or damaged fruit, in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup.
After sorting, the coffee cherries are then pulped to remove the fruit and skin and graded by weight; heavier beans are of superior quality and deliver a sweeter cup. After grading, the parchment-covered coffee is soaked in tanks of clean water for 36–48 hours to remove the mucilage (sticky fruit pulp) by allowing it to ferment and detach from the coffee. The coffee is then re-washed and graded again by density in washing channels and soaked in clean water for 12 hours.
The coffee is then dried for 10–12 days on raised African drying beds, firstly under cover (for around 3–5 hours) and then subsequently in the sun. Whilst drying, the coffee is carefully hand-sorted, and any defects are removed. It is also turned regularly to ensure that it dries evenly and consistently. At midday, the coffee is covered to protect it from full sun. It is also covered overnight to prevent damage from morning dew. Once the coffee is dry and has reached its desired humidity, it is rested in parchment until it is ready for milling and export.