Yemen Mokha, Bani Matar
Yemen Mokha, Bani Matar
About this Bani Matar...We haven't been bringing in Yemen coffees at all since 2007, what with the downward pressure on quality resulting from a lack of cataloguing, a lack of a standards board such as one sees across the Mandeb Strait in Ethiopia, and a generally deteriorating political climate. That said, we've missed these coffees, as Yemen was home to the preeminent appellations of my early years in the industry, and a big part of what fostered a lifelong fascination and romance with it. So, when the opportunity presented itself to bring in a small batch of a well curated lot via the Blue Label program, we jumped at it, and here you go.
Coffee in Yemen is grown in the mountains west of the capital, Sana'a. Essentially, the three appellations that are most highly regarded are Matari, Ismaili, and Hirazi, in approximately that order. Matari coffees, and that's what this Bani Matar is, are especially noted for their big body and dense chocolate notes. This coffee doesn't disappoint. It's earthy and rustic, with a bittersweet chocolate that manifests itself right out the gate and persists through the cup. There's a musky reduced grape juice sugariness that lends itself to bad allegorization with hookahs, belly dancing and mysterious spirits from Arabian Nights, but we try and avoid that sort of cheap marketing, so let's not go there. Taken for all in all, this is a very nice example of the Matari appellation, and represents for me, a nice trip back home to see the old neighborhood and revisit some pleasant memories.
This is available at our Coffee Cat store, and we sometimes have a few bags for sale there, as well. For mail order, please allow an additional week for roasting and shipping, as all Blue Label coffees are roasted to order, and roast dates are intermittent.
Region: Bani Matar, Sana'a Governorate
Cultivar: Yemen Arabica Heirloom
Elevation: Unknown, but pretty high up there
Tasting Notes: Sweet Tobacco, Dark Chocolate, Cedar, and lots of body
About our Blue Label Roasting Project...
We do a fair amount of production roasting, of course - to the tune of 2000 pounds or so a week - to service our stores, Farmers' Markets and our dedicated wholesale clients. We roast every day of the week, every week of the year, with very few exceptions. One of the things about production roasting is that, what with having to purchase larger contracts on green bean and meet production deadlines and all, it doesn't allow much time to stop and smell the roses, and we were missing that. So we went out and bought a couple of very cool semi-commercial trial roasters that roast down to 100 grams of coffee at a time, and peak out at a mere 500 grams or so, put them on a rolling table, and we park that setup outside the Octagon a few days a week to roast some off-the-beaten-path coffees that we buy at consumer level places like Sweet Marias and Coffee Shrub. We get to bring in coffees that we wouldn't really buy in larger quantities, and we get to have some fun roasting on the sidewalk. The results are delicious too. Roasting at this level results in some pretty spectacular coffees that simply don't come out of larger operations. So yeah. It all works out.