Aljidan XI - Best of Yemen
Impressions: apple crumble, fermented gummies, limoncello
Roast degree: 1.5/5
Region: Hayma Kharijiya
Farmers: Aljidan community lot
Process: Natural - Alchemy
Partner importer: Qima Coffee
For the second year running, we are so happy to bring you an auction lot from the Best of Yemen competition. (see all the results here)
David had the privilege to be part of the international jury making the final selection of coffees. Something really unexpected also happened: this was his favourite coffee out of the 50 he tasted!
This lot from the Aljidan community is a beauty. Every farmer in the group are the definition of small holder farmer. No farm is bigger than 44sq m, with some farms being only a couple of trees wide, all fitting on less than 3sq m.
Coffee cultivation in Aljidan goes back 400 years. That is ~12 generations. You can learn more about the farmers and the region here.
There are many coffee auctions out there, but the best of Yemen one is our favourite and the only one we participate in because it also gives back to farmers, and to Yemen itself with the various project the Qima Foundation is involved in.
Wether it's investing in water wells or coffee nurseries to give the farmers the best varietals for their land, or simply to help rebuild war torn regions from almost a decade of Saudi and US bombing, the Qima Foundation is active on the ground.
Once again, this coffee contributes to much more than just an amazing brew.
Ok folks, here's the thing about this coffee. David, a lapsed QGrader (aka coffee taster), never graded a coffee that high.
He was lucky enough to be on the International judging panel that decided what the final selection would be for the Best of Yemen action. He tasted 50 coffees over 3 days. 50 of the best coffees from his favourite origin, and this one stood out so much that we knew we had to buy it.
Yes, we paid a pretty penny for it (see out transparency report), but this is a coffee experience that was so overwhelming that we HAD to share it with you.
We recently made some taste test with it, and selecting only 3 main impressions was very hard.
It's unbelievably sweet, complex, with a heavy mouthfeel and a long aftertaste.
What we had in the cup was:
- apple crumble. Think cinnamon, cooked apple, deep brown sugar with maybe a maple syrup dressing on top.
- fermented gummy bears. Have we ever taste that? Nop. Yet, we are sure that you will know EXACTLy what we mean. This taste reminded us of all the colours of the rainbow, and his due mostly to the fact that Qima processed this coffee by following their ALCHEMY protocols.
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. Find more detail about the Alchemy process here.
- limoncello. This coffee is beautifully acidic, fresh and boozy. This might not be the season, but it would make an amazing flash brew!
If you find more interesting tasting notes, please let us know!
How to best brew this coffee.
First of all, this is a coffee that can be brewed in a myriad of ways.
Our preferred temperature range is in the 94-96C. Go hotter to emphasize the sweetness, and lower for a more boozy experience.
Ration wise, we loved the brews at 17:1. If you want to experience the most complex brew, but with more subtle flavours, you can go higher, and at 16:1, the sweetness and mouthfeel were simply phenomenal.
A typical 20g conical dripper brew should be in the 3:30-4:00min range, and about a minute faster for flat bed brewers.
These are obviously just suggestions, and we wanted to give you pointers since it's quite an expensive coffee and wasting 2 brews is not ideal. But we encourage you to experiment, and tag us when you do!
How long should I wait before brewing this coffee?
It's hard to wait before drinking a coffee like this one. But we highly suggest you wait at least 10 days before brewing, and ideally, you would find the courage to wait 12.
We also suggest keeping one brew for when the coffee is 18-20 days after roast: those brews were very well rested, easy to extract and gave us so many different flavours.
If you are impatient, waiting a week after roast is highly recommended.
Even though we think it can make a great espresso, we haven't tested this coffee for it.
Importer & Exporter: Qima Coffee
When you buy this coffee, you contribute to much more than a tasty brew.
Price paid by us to Qima: 193CAD/kg. An additional 15CAD/kg was paid for shipping, packaging and importing fees.
Farmers pay: 103CAD/kg.
It feels so good to see farmers, who historically have little bargaining power over the price of THEIR own coffee, get what they deserve for exceptional coffee production.
But the auction, besides celebrating Yemeni farmers and the best coffees in the country, has a second mission: to keep investing in coffee growing region despite the civil war raging since 2014.
For Qima and the Qima foundation, investing in those regions is a way to cultivate innovation.
10% of the money generated by the auction, ～30000USD, was donated to the Qima Foundation.
(the lot we purchased contributed just shy of 900CAD to the foundation)
After more than six years of working with thousands of farmers and hundreds of stakeholders across the world, we can say this with certainty: cultivating innovation — be it through R&D with social impact focus; agritech interventions; monitoring, evaluation and implementation of pilot projects; and strategic partnerships with industrial players, among other measures — will be the ripple that creates a wave of transformation within the industry.
Find the full IG post here.