A rare coffee for a good cause: Yemeni coffee

What is happening in Yemen right now?

We are happy to launch one of the World’s rarest coffee, and even happier to do so with a purpose beyond its uniqueness and deliciousness.

Yemen is engulfed in the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth.

  • 24 million people are in need of aid
  • 20 million without enough food
  • More than 3.5 million people had to flee their home

For every bag sold, we will donate $3 to Red Cross’s Yemeni Appeal. You could enjoy rare, unique, and delicious coffee while contributing to something great.

This project is important to us. We are constantly trying to build long term, meaningful relationships with our export partners who are working directly with farmers. This project could be a stepping stone to a much larger collaboration.

If you want to jump onboard with us click here to get yourself delicious coffee! 

Why is Yemeni coffee so expensive?

We know that Yemeni coffee is expensive. But this is not just an overpriced hype, and multiple reasons explain why the price tag can be impressive.

First of all, it’s a rare coffee. Supply and demand being what it is, we can’t expect such a rare coffee to be cheap. Only 3% of Yemen’s territory is suited for agriculture, and this is due to the landscape (lots of hills and mountains) as well as water being so rare throughout the country.

Yemen also offers quite a unique coffee experience when it comes to the complexity of its profile. They cultivate some of the oldest varieties of arabica, and it gives the country a unique sense of where or terroir. You can expect deep sweetness, floral, fruity and spicy notes, and all of this without being overwhelming.

We partnered with Sabcomeed, an export company led by Abdulrahman Saeed, who has deep roots in Yemen. Sabcomeed pays the farmer between 2 to 4 times more than what they would get on the marketplace. Once dried, they paid up to 15-$20/kg of green coffee, which is already more expensive then the vast majority of specialty coffee in general.

Coffee farmers in Yemen, producing small lots of sometimes only 1kg, can’t afford to reinvest in their farms. Fertilizers and moisture reader, which should be in any coffee farmers tool box, are too expensive. A lot of farmers often decide to cut down their coffee trees and replace their crop with khat, a chewable stimulant. They need partners to ensure that their crops are not cared for in vain.

Lastly, the war raging these last few years did nothing to help the scarcity of Yemeni coffee seeds. Their GDP dropped by 38% since 2014. Militia and armed forces stop vehicles and often require payment to move past roadblocks.

Since the conflict, gas cost four times more than in the US, and infrastructures at the ports have been annihilated, making the cost of coffee increase even further. And let’s not forget the cost of shipping by boat, customs clearance in Dubaï, and then the cost of shipping this coffee all the way to roasters across the globe.

So yes, Yemeni coffee is incredibly expensive. But if we stop for one second and do some basic math, it ends up costing $5 per cup to brew a rare coffee at home, if we can assume that 20 g is a typically normal weight for a single brew. It's the equivalent of buying a 25$ bottle of wine, except that in this case, we are offering you a grand cru!

The cost of one big latte at Starbucks is close to $5, for coffee beans paid cheap. One craft beer can easily approach $10, and a crappy lager in a bar often exceed $6. There is nothing wrong with buying any of the listed products above (except maybe the Starbucks coffee ;-) ), but it’s important to put things in perspective.

A brief history of Yemeni coffee 

It’s impossible to talk about the history of coffee without talking about Yemen: the country has been involved in its trade and cultivation since the early days.

Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, but under the Ottomans, the Yemeni people were the first to cultivate, drink and export it, as early as the 15th century. Coffea Arabica made its way to Yemen either via trade or through people making the pilgrimage to Mecca. It played a big role in religious ceremonies, and the birth of coffee shops also meant a rich environment to exchange ideas.

The Ottoman Empire had a world monopoly on coffee, until Dutch traders managed to steal live plants so that, years down the road, they could plant coffee in their colonies like Java and Sumatra.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us!

We hope you’ll be part of this project with us and that you will soon enjoy the delicate flavours of a freshly brewed Yemeni coffee.

*all picture credit to @sabcomeed


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