Yemen Heirloom Rooftop Dried Natural Process
Region: Bani Matari, Sana'a
Harvest: Dec 2021
About traditional rooftop dried natural processing
In a country where water is scarce, coffee has always been naturally dried on the rooftops of houses. One of the most spectacular images in the world of coffee is an ancient three story Yemeni house whose roof is covered in bright red coffee cherries.
About Fatoum Muslot & The Bani Matari Growing region
This lot was secured through Fatoum Muslot, who took over the family coffee business started by her father back in the 1950s. With Fatoum managing the group now and stringent hand sorting practices and the use of Ecotact storage bags implemented the overall quality and consistency has seen a direct increase in the cup scores achieved by her export group.
This lot is made up of coffee from roughly 100 farmers in Bani Matari, who on average have 1000 trees planted on less than 1/2 hectare of land. Altitude is extremely high, starting around 2000 meters and stretching upwards of 2400 meters above sea level. Matari is one of the few coffees from the growing regions surrounding the high-altitudes of Sana'a that was traditionally kept separate. The others mixed to form "Sana'ani coffee" with decidedly mixed outcomes. But coffee in Bani Matari is a bit different, tall old-growth trees that appear like a fruit orchard than a typical coffee farm.
About Yemeni Coffee and Heirloom Varietals
Yemen's coffee history is rich and was absolutely critical in shaping arabica's genetics across the world. Over 98% of the world's known cultivated varieties of Coffee arabica, can be traced back to Yemen. The arabica species, originally found wild in the forests of Ethiopia, made its way 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.