Ghalib Al Hammashi
The first thing you should know about this coffee is: it's really special to us. Our retail manager, Jake McFarland, showcased this stunning Yemeni lot at the US Barista Championship in Portland last month, and he used the story of its producer to draw really poignant parallels between it and Jake's own lived experience, and among all of us who call ourselves human.
MEET THE PRODUCER | Ghalib Al Hammashi lives in the Wadi Seil Village in Sana'a, Yemen, where he oversees a multi-generational coffee farm that's been in operation for over 300 years. Three centuries of family history, combined with the historical significance of Yemen as part of coffee's origin story in general, means that a big part of Ghalib's identity, story, and coffee is steeped in the past. For example, the coffee variety in this lot has historically been referred to as Mocha, a nod to the Yemeni port city of Mokha, famous for having made international coffee trade possible as far back at the 15th century! BUT. Ghalib's coffee is not only a product of the past; it is also an ode to the present of specialty coffee in general and to the future of Yemeni coffee in particular. By opting to process this lot in a way that breaks with Yemeni coffee tradition, Ghalib managed to bring together the old world and the new school of coffee, and the result is spectacular.
TRUST THE PROCESS | Mocha variety coffees typically have very distinct flavors, such as apricot, dried fruit, and sandalwood. Working with Mocha Origins Coffee, Ghalib decided to break with traditional Yemeni processing methods and instead subjected this lot to 96 hours of anaerobic fermentation. The result is a coffee that maintains the spirit of its origins while simultaneously being elevated to a flavor experience worthy of the barista competition stage. This duality in the coffee is a point to which Jake regularly returned during his time on that stage, and we love the way he put it when he said, "Ghalib honored his past, but he didn't stay there. He chose to embrace a change that led to growth."
TAKE A SIP | By choosing to use an extended fermentation style much more common in places like Panama and Colombia, Ghalib has managed to produce a coffee that is both true to its terroir in flavor and brimming with vibrant acidity and well-rounded sweetness. When hot, this coffee has notes of black grape, black raspberry, dark rum, brown sugar, cinnamon, and Oud. As it approaches a pleasantly warm temperature, that vibrant acidity starts to ramp up, and new flavors of red raspberry, cooked peaches, and pineapple are introduced. At this temperature, the coffee still has a rum-like character, and here it melds with the brown sugar and cinnamon notes to give us something reminiscent of tiki spice. Finally, when cool, the big acidity remains while the flavors simplify, leaving us with a silky body, lots of sweetness, and non-descript red fruit notes. Meanwhile, those rum and spice notes prevail to the last sip.
Origin | Wadi Seil Village, Haraz Area, Manakha, Sana'a, Yemen
Producer | Ghalib Al Hammashi
Process | 96-hr Anaerobic Natural
Variety | Ja'adi, Old Typica
Elevation | 1700-2240 masl