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Yemen - Al Hayma & Anis Regional Decaf

Village Various
Region Al Hayma, Anis
Variety Various
Process Natural
Altitude 2000 - 2100 meters above sea level
Tasting Notes Grape, raspberry, milk chocolate

For this particular lot, coffee beans from two distinct regions, Al-Hayma and Anis, were blended before undergoing decaffeination using the CO2 method.

About the Al-Hayma Region:

Al-Hayma is a region situated on the outskirts of the Governorate of Sana'a. It is characterized by its arid and unforgiving climate, with limited greenery. The average altitude in this region is remarkably high, reaching 2250 meters above sea level. The harvest season in this remote mountainous area is always the last in Yemen, as the coffee cherries require ample time to ripen to their optimal state.

While Al-Hayma is renowned for producing high-quality coffee, its production scale remains modest. The total coffee cherry harvest in many villages amounts to no more than 15 tons, resulting in a precious yield of only 1.5 tons of coffee beans per year. However, quality surpasses quantity when it comes to Al-Hayma coffee in the hands of skilled producers.

About the Anis Region:

Located in the governorate of Dhamar, the Anis region has emerged as a significant player in Yemeni coffee cultivation due to its fertile lands and abundant yields. The area surrounding Anis features towering mountains and an abundance of water sources, including waterfalls and deep mountain wells for irrigation. With its high altitudes and ample water supply (at least for natural production), the Anis region achieves higher yields compared to other coffee-producing regions. Consequently, this region alone can produce a substantial lot of 15 tons of high-quality cherries per season, making it noteworthy in Yemeni coffee production.

Processing & Decaffeination:

In both regions, producers begin by selectively handpicking only the reddest cherries. A single farmer may pass a tree several times during each harvest, making sure cherries are only picked when they are at their most ripe. Once picked, the cherries are transported to Sheba’s regional processing hub near Sana’a. The cherries are next placed into baths of cool, clean water, cleaning and sorting the quality cherries from any floaters or debris.

Once clean, the cherries are dried. For this lot, multiple drying methods are used, such as raised beds and greenhouses. For the raised beds, the coffee is dried for an average of two to three weeks and turned daily, making sure they are dried evenly. Once a moisture level of between 11-12% is recorded, the beans are removed from their beds and placed into airtight bags, helping protect them from oxidization or contamination from foreign matter or air pollution.

Next, the dried cherries are rested for between 1 and 2 months; before being hulled of their cherry. Once hulled, the beans are passed through a gravity sorter, sieved by screen size and hand-sorted, removing any remaining defects. Once complete, the coffees are graded and bagged, ready for export.

The CO2 is then separated in an evaporator, causing the caffeine to precipitate from the CO2, making it possible to collect and repurpose the caffeine for resale. Following this, the CO2 is reintroduced into the vessel containing the green coffee for a new cycle. Once the desired level of caffeine removal is achieved, the circulation of CO2 is halted, and the coffee is discharged into a drying apparatus, where it is gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content. At this stage, the coffee is ready for the roasting process.

Although this method can be relatively costly due to the need for specialized equipment, the CO2 can be reused for subsequent batches, contributing to cost savings. Additionally, the extracted caffeine can be sold to other companies for use in energy drinks or pharmaceutical products, further offsetting expenses.

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