This coffee is from the region of Jabal Nabi and more specifically, the village of Bani Matar. Bani Matar is located in the highlands and is home to the highest mountain in Yemen and in the Arabian Peninsula. There are 1,000 farming families here making the most of the ideal coffee growing conditions. The people of Bani Matar have been growing coffee at the foothills of the mountains for centuries. Local legend says that it is here that coffee first appeared.
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, traveled 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.
This coffee is sourced in partnership with Qima: https://www.qimacoffee.com/.
Qima works directly with Yemeni growers and works directly with smallholder farmers across central and northern Yemen, creating equitable trade in cultivating and hand harvesting specialty coffee sourced from some of Yemen’s highest altitudes. Founded in 2016 by Faris Sheibani, Qima Coffee’s core purpose is to rebuild Yemen’s specialty coffee industry. Qima has pledged to donate 10% of its annual profits to education and agricultural projects through their Qima Foundation.
All photos by Qima.