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Labor Day 2012 - The Only Middle Eastern Coffee

The Only Middle Eastern Coffee
J. Martinez & Company - Coffee Merchants
Labor Day 2012

Company Newsletter

The Only Middle Eastern Coffee

Bag of Yemen coffee

As you open the 132-pound burlap sack you know that this coffee is going to be different. After pondering a moment the long journey of these beans have taken from the small terraced farms in the mountains of Southwest Yemen to Atlanta, you also ponder the papoose-style bag, different from any other coffee sack, squat and almost rectangular, with its hand-sewn twine closure.

Open the bag and the wild grassy smell takes you far away to another land. The aroma is distinct and makes you wonder whether the bazaar in Sana’a smells like this, mixed with a hundred other exotic scents and sounds. Inside the bag the beans are some of the least attractive, at least in appearance, of all the beans we carry. The sizes are irregular as is the color. These beans come from many small plots, each farmed by a different family. When processed the silver “skin” or parchment surrounding the bean is removed and the Yemeni’s make Quisher from it, a tea-like drink, by steeping the parchment in hot water.

Yemeni beans must be roasted carefully; the different sizes roast a bit unevenly (one reason we offer these coffee beans only in dark roast). This is part of the romance of coffee business: its ability to take you to another place just by opening up a bag.

The history, and romance, of this particular coffee dates back to the 13th century when it is generally agreed that Yemen began cultivation of coffee. Coffee’s discovery in Ethiopia may date back to 850 AD, but it was the Yemenis who turned the trees into a crop. Yemen remained the only source of coffee for three hundred years until an Indian Muslim pilgrim smuggled out some viable green beans.

Yemeni Coffee - Green and Roasted Beans

Roasted the beans expand, but still are irregular and have slightly different colors. The aroma of this coffee when ground, while being deliciously coffee-like, has a wilder herbal side to it, a muted reflection of the essence that wafted up out of the newly opened jute bag of green coffee.

The coffee brewed has an aroma of fruit, herbs, and a hint of chocolate. And it is the fruity taste that delights and surprises the palate. There is a distinct berry taste. The Yemeni coffee finishes with a hint of dark chocolate. This is a special coffee when brewed drip, and it makes an excellent single origin espresso as well. Write us and tell us what you think!