Amal Yemen sheds light on the country’s humanitarian crisis, offering its coffees as a chance for survival.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Amal Yemen
The longtime occupation and wars escalated within Yemen have left the people of this country in a state of emergency. This has impacted many things throughout the country, including its emerging specialty-coffee sector. This week on Friday, April 9, prominent coffee industry figures will join forces to host Amal Yemen (Hope for Yemen) in an effort to showcase Yemen’s cultural attributes, including its exquisite coffees. In doing so, the virtual event’s intention is to connect Yemen to a global audience, providing them with essential business opportunities to support their people.
“Yemen should sit near the top of the list of countries celebrated for its extraordinary coffees, yet it is nearly invisible within the modern specialty-coffee movement,” says Geoff Watts, an organizer of the event and co-founder of Intelligentsia Coffee. Geoff is also a buyer of Yemeni coffees, and will present a guided tasting session during the event (now sold out). Other hosts of the event include the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, Qima Coffee, and Square Mile Coffee Roasters, among dozens of other coffee companies across the globe who have donated equipment to facilitate tastings and auctions.
Aside from the coffee tastings, highlights of this event include a deeper dive into the world of coffee in Yemen. Virtual attendees will learn about the importance of coffee to Yemen’s economic recovery, its coffee culture and landscape, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis at large. “It is our goal to bring our expert knowledge while celebrating Yemen’s rich cultural and historical footprint within the coffee industry,” explains Darrin Daniel, Alliance for Coffee Excellence’s executive director. The event will also conclude with a musical performance, along with a raffle and auction of donated coffee gear, subscriptions, artwork, and experiences; all funds raised go directly to nonprofits Mercy Corps and Médecins Sans Frontières. You can find a full list of the speakers and presentations here.
In a press release by Amal Yemen, it is stated that Yemen is the birthplace of coffee, yet its coffee farmers are facing more and more challenges as they suffer a sixth year of war. The main struggle is a lack of resources to continue agricultural and business operations. The United Nations Development Programme has identified coffee as one of the five economic pillars to help Yemen survive. Qima Coffee co-founder Faris Sheibani says, “For Yemenis, coffee is more a way of life than a caffeine kick—it represents a golden era of peace and prosperity and a rich history of cultivation mastery.”
Although the Yemeni Coffee Taster Box is sold out, the full Amal Yemen Coffee Kit comes with additional roasts and a complete home brewing setup, along with two raffle tickets. You can purchase general admission tickets here, or simply donate to a good cause here.