The Sana’a governorate has the biggest share of specialty coffee production, in both quality and quantity in Yemen – you will see its name on many premium coffees stemming from Yemen. The main coffee growing areas are Hayma Dakhiliya, Hayma Kharijiya, Bani Matar, Bani Ismail, and Haraaz. Altitude, soil fertility, microclimate and rainfall are all contributing factors behind some of the finest coffee in the world.
Hayma Kharijiya is a coffee growing region located in the west of the Sana’a governorate. The region is home to 85,000 people, out of which 15% are dependant on coffee as thier main source of livelihood. Coffee culture is rooted in the region’s heritage and history. Farmers believe that the coffee trees are blessed and that the coffee tree itself originated from the region.
Hayma Al Askar is a village in the Hayma Kharijiya region of north Yemen within the governorate of Sana’a. Most farmers here are very smallholder producers (in most cases producing less than 10kgs), and it’s the combination of these small lots that make up the ‘Hayma Al Askar’ lot. In total, the lot consists of around 110 farmers from this village and its surrounding communities.
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.
The “50-50” label is ROAST’s signature branded coffee that guarantees the farmers 50% of the retail price. The “50-50” label raises the bar for sustainability guaranteeing the farmers 50% of the retail price*.
* After sales taxes and duties. All costs in the origin country and transportation costs to the roastery (including taxes, duties, commissions etc.) are covered by the farmers. Smaller parts of the farmer payments may be given as donations to ACE and similar organisations to help educate farmers etc.