Making Coffee History: Yemenia

Leyaqah Mohammed of Women Farmers of Dhamar. Photo courtesy of Qima Coffee

Qima Coffee, founded by United Kingdom-based Faris Sheibani, made a historic announcement last week with the discovery of Yemenia, a new genetic mother population of arabica. The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) has partnered with Qima and for the first time in history, will offer Yemenia to the world in the Qima Yemen Coffee Auction.

After civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015, the founder established Qima a year later to sustain smallholder coffee producers. Today, dozens of team members work to bring Qima to consumers. 

After several years of research into Yemen’s coffee genetics, Qima Coffee, in partnership with Dr. Christophe Montagnon from RD2 Vision, has announced the discovery of an entirely new genetic group of arabica coffee in Yemen. Qima Coffee conducted the largest genetic survey in Yemen’s history, covering an area of over 25,000km2. Using DNA fingerprinting technology, the study assessed 137 samples of Coffea arabica across three categories: Ethiopian accessions, worldwide cultivated varieties, and a Qima breeding population from Yemen. The research has been submitted for publication in the Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution journal.

In order to discover the cup quality of the new find, the company partnered with ACE with an independent, international jury of expert cuppers. Numerous coffees scored more than 90 points.

“The coffees were amazing and full of surprises,” says international judge Angelo Benedict Abordo of Cherry Beans Specialty Coffee in Qatar. “This has been my best experience so far in tasting Yemeni coffee; explosive character and totally far from what I usually get in my cup of Yemen.”

Coffee growing in Yemen. Photo courtesy of Qima Coffee

The auction is scheduled for Thursday, September 10, with bidding beginning at 6 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.