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Yemen - Collective Al Mahjar & Bait Hujairah

Village Al Mahjar & Bait Hujairah
Region Al Hayma
Variety Udaini
Process Natural Mixed Fermentation
Altitude 2200 meters above sea level
Tasting Notes Cotton candy, strawberry, blackberry

Situated at 2200 meters above sea level, producers in the Mikhlaf Al-Rub’ area are blessed by high altitudes and fertile soils. Both towns of Wadi Bait-Hujairah and Al Mahjar are located with Mikhlaf Al-Rub’ and are known for their high-quality coffee production

Al-Hayma is a region located on the outskirts of the Governorate of Sana’a. This region is far from green and verdant, being primarily arid with a harsh climate and a tremendous average altitude of 2250 meters above sea level. The harvest season in this remote mountainous region is always the last in Yemen, as the cherries require significant time to reach optimal ripeness.

Wadi Al-Mahjar is a small valley located within Al-Hayma. Not only is the region is known for its ancient history of coffee production, but also for its substantial numbers of high scoring lots. Of the 12 lots from Al Hayma featured in Sheba's 2021 Gems of Yemen Auction, 11 were notably from Wadi Al-Mahjar.

Producers in Wadi Bait-Hujairah depend on several cash crops for their income, including pumpkins, peaches, melons, and various legumes. The region is also widely covered with Cordia myxa, a plum tree native to the region. Farmers in the region take full advantage of these trees; using their shade to benefit their coffee plants.

Although famed for its quality, coffee production in Al-Hayma is modest in scale. Some villages' total harvest is no more than 15 tons of coffee Cherries: yielding only a precious 1.5 tons of coffee beans per year. However, yield is not everything. In the right hands, Al Hayma's quality is supreme.

During the harvest period, producers begin by selectively handpicking only the reddest cherries. Across Yemen, a single farmer may pass a tree several times during each harvest, making sure cherries are picked only when they are at their most ripe. Once picked, the cherries are transported to one of Sheba’s regional processing hubs to begin processing.

For this lot, producers hailing from these two towns who do not produce enough coffee to create a single producer lot have been combined into a collective, before being processed using Sheba’s double Anaerobic processing method. To create such a high scoring lot, Sheba’s team in Yemen cup through each sample received, no matter the size, making sure to create the perfect balance in the cup. For this particular lot, nearly 100 farms were combined, most contributing no more than a few kilos from their gardens.

For Sheba Coffee’s natural mixed fermentation coffees, the freshly picked cherries are first placed onto raised beds and sun dried for just under a week to remove excess water. Once complete, a percentage of the beans are placed into hermetic bags to ferment, whilst the remaining beans are transported to the greenhouse and left to continue slow drying.

Once complete processes have completed their drying periods, both lots are taken to the raised beds to dry under direct sunlight. Here, the beans are regularly turned, stabilising the moisture of the coffee. When a reading of 12% moisture is recorded, the slow dried and fermented cherries are blended according to exact specifications and bagged, ready to be milled.

Next, the coffee is transported to Sheba’s processing centre. Here, 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.

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