Jury code : 9289
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VILLAGE :Bait Alal
REGION : Hayma Kharijiya
GOVERNORATE : Sanaa
Abdo Dair is a coffee grower belonging to Bail Alal village in Hayma Kharijiya, Sana’a.
“I believe coffee is a gift from God. It is a blessing, and I treat it as such”, he says as he talks about his farm. Da’er’s dedication to the crop can be traced back to his childhood. Till date, he wakes up early to water the trees, and inspect them for any damage. He adds, “I pick cherries meticulously. Harvesting the coffee crop demands great care, and processing, even greater.”
Abdo’s dedication has paved the way for his coffee farm expansion; he recently planted 100 new trees, making his grand total 200. His main concern used to be the low prices coffee fetched in the market, but with entry into the specialty categories, he is now able to make a living income from coffee. Other troubles prove more daunting.
“The weather has been unpredictable these past few years. I’ve also observed that coffee trees are increasingly susceptible to pests and diseases.”
He has nine children. Most of them have moved away to pursue independent lives, and two of them have stayed back to learn from their father. “We are proud coffee growers. Yemeni coffee is a tradition, our tradition. I hope my children, and their children after them, continue in the footsteps of their ancestors.”
Yemenia is a new mother population within the species of Coffea arabica that is found exclusively in Yemen, and represents an ocean of unexplored genetics and future varieties that have the potential to reshape the world of arabica for centuries to come.
The discovery of Yemenia was part of Qima Coffee’s R&D programme with Dr Christophe Montagnon, the aim of which was to map out Yemen's coffee genetic landscape. Qima conducted the largest genetic survey in Yemen's history, covering an area of over 25,000 sq km.
Through rigorous research in coffee genetics, we discovered that there exists a mother population of Coffea arabica that never left Yemen, and remains native to the land till date: Yemenia – meaning Yemeni mother in Arabic.
Yemen’s coffee land has a rough climate, displaying both high and low temperatures in the extreme range of coffee growing areas worldwide, together with one of the lowest global rainfall levels. There is no doubt that this environment has favoured resilient landraces, not only between the 1400s (coffee first introduced to Yemen) and 1700s (when today’s main worldwide coffee varieties were taken out of Yemen), but also during the last 300 years of coffee cultivation and propagation. The unveiling of Yemenia, which has not been observed anywhere else in the world so far, opens the gate to previously uncharted genetic diversity within C. arabica in general, and Yemeni coffee in particular. Further research is ongoing to determine and identify potential varieties within Yemenia group.
The culmination of years of processing experience and more than 1,300 processing experiments, the Qima Alchemy Series represents the next generation of coffee processing innovation. Through these processing innovations, we have successfully added sensorial value to coffees. The resulting cup profiles are bold and enhanced; they maintain the intrinsic flavours and notes that represent the terroir and the genetic background of the coffee.
The Alchemy series relies on a combination of pressure (up to 10 bar/145 psi), temperature control, gas regulation and managed drying, to develop a truly unique set of coffees with unparalleled flavour expression and structure. All of our processing and fermentation protocols are underpinned by principles of chemical engineering, ensuring our innovations are both sensorially unique and scientifically novel.
Bait Alal is located in the region of Hayma Kharijiya in Sana’a. It is home to 300 farming families and the Bait Alal is perched on a mountain top at an altitude of 2,300 metres above sea level. The farmers in Bait Alal see the coffee tree as a symbol of pride and they believe that coffee originated from this area. The land has been passed down through the generations, some of the farmers have ownership documents that show that the lands and the coffee trees date back a few hundred years. The farmers face difficulties due to the harsh climate which is one of the reasons for low yields being produced. However, no matter how small the harvest is or how harsh the conditions, the farmers never abandon their coffee trees. Bait Alal is also home to Al Ruwad is Yemen’s largest and most established specialty coffee cooperative, serving 285 families – the equivalent of around 2,000 people.
Hayma Kharijiya is a coffee growing region located in the west of the Sana’a governorate and includes many villages. It is located on the west side of Sana'a city. It is bordered by Bani Matar to the east, Al-Hayma Al Dakhiliyah to the north, Manakhah to the west and Dhamar to the south. The region boasts of a lion’s share within Yemeni specialty coffee production, both in terms of quality and quantity. One can spot this name associated with many premium Yemeni coffees.
Hayma Kharijiya is known for its mild weather, fresh air and a chain of mountains that has a navy blue appearance to them. The air is fresh and one can stand anywhere on the mountain for a panoramic view of many important regions closeby.
Hayma Kharijiya has many valleys such as Wadi Ali, Wadi Sarf, and Wadi Bini Ahmed to name a few. Mufhaq and Al-Manar forts are of the important archaeological landmarks in Hayma Kharijiya.
The governorate of Sana’a not only has the biggest share of specialty coffee production, in both quality and quantity in Yemen but also has one of the longest continuous coffee cultures in the world. Much of the coffee consumed in Sana’a is prepared using the traditional Ibrik method, brewing coffee in a copper or silver pot over hot charcoals.
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