Akram Darwaish - Winning lot #23
Impressions: red flowers, pomegranate, maple syrup, baking spices, fizzy
Roast degree: 1.5/5
Farmer: Akram Darwaish
Partner importer/exporter: Qima Coffee
Best of Yemen: lot #23
''I will do all my best to produce the highest quality coffee'' - Akram Darwaish
Being a coffee farmer anywhere is no easy task. Add scarcity of water and resources on top of a civil war that's been ongoing since 2014, and it's truly a miracle that we can even get those amazing coffees from Yemen.
This is our first ever auction lot.
The theme of the Best of Yemen auction was Catalyzing Peace and Prosperity. Not only did farmers receive extremely high prices for the winning lots (see our transparency report), but Qima coffee, on top of already pledging 10% of its annual profits to charitable causes in Yemen, donated 10% of the auction's profit to one of the regions most affected by the conflict.
See our Transparency Report for all the details.
Akram is from the village of Qabal, in Ibb. Despite being only 25, he has already been growing coffee for a long time to bring money for his family.
Before he began working with Qima, even if his coffee was truly one of the best in the country, he really struggled to fetch decent prices for his coffee. Providing for his family was hard, especially while also trying to take care of his brother who needs expensive medicine.
Coffee can accomplish a lot, well beyond the brewed cup, and we are grateful to work with partners who believe in changing things at origin.
*The coffee, along with any other coffees you might order with it, will start shipping Tuesday, Feb 14th.
This coffee is a delicacy. It's worth pausing what you were doing while drinking. Those emails and zooms can wait an extra 5 minutes, right? ;-)
This auction lot from farmer Akram Darwaish, of of the best micro lot in the whole country, is quite complex, with a many flavours and depth.
Upon grinding, the first things that struck us was the red flowers and fresh spices.
Once you start brewing, some citrus and hibiscus will join the aromatic dance. It's a full experience before even taking a first sip.
The coffee is silky and smooth, with a long aftertaste. The flowers and spices are dominant at first but quickly let the citrus and pomegranate join in. The coffee is bright and light, one of the lightest roasts we did in a long time, and it almost feels fizzy at times.
There are hints of chocolate, and the main sweetness reminded us of maple water, something we can easily enjoy here in Quebec. A very light caramel could be an adequate way to describe the sweetness as well.
We even had some quick taste of macadamia nuts, peach and banana.
Truly a complex coffee experience that is, stylistically, outside our regular roasting style.
How to best brew this coffee.
First of all, this is a coffee that can be brewed in a myriad of ways.
We preferred higher temperature water in the 96-98C range, but for a very flowery brew, you can go as low as 90.
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.
The brews below 16:1 were ok, but we felt something was missing in them.
You can also grind quite fine and have long extractions.
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 diving in a coffee, isn't it? We highly suggest you wait at least 8 days before brewing, and ideally, you would find the courage to wait 12.
We also suggest keeping on or 2 brews for when the coffee will be about 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 6 days minimum is still highly recommended.
Even though we think it can make a great espresso, we haven't tested this coffee for that method.
Farmer: Akram Darwaish
Importer & Exporter: Qima Coffee
When you buy this coffee, you contribute to much more than a tasty brew.
Price paid by us to Qima: 51,50USD/lb
(packaging and shipping fees: +5USD/lb)
Initial farmgate price paid to Akram, before the auction: 11,50USD/lb
The farmers then receive 50% of the profits generated at the auction by their coffee.
Second payment made to Akram, post auction: 17,50USD/lb
Total paid directly to Akram: 28USD/lb.
In a country where farmers historically have little bargaining power over the price of THEIR own coffee, Qima made sure that the auction was farmer centric and would pay farmers well.
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 catalyst for peace and prosperity.
On top of their pledge to donate 10% of their profits annually to causes helping the Yemeni people prosper again, they also donated 10% of the auction's profits - $32 965USD - to the Mokha Revival Project in the Taiz region, one of the most affected by the conflict.
(us buying this lot contributed to $745,50USD to the Qima foundation: 372.75 to the foundation for the ongoing 10% pledge by Qima, and another 372,75 to the Mokha revival project for the extra 10% of the profits from the auction)