About the bean
Coffee is the soul of Yemen, its popularity having transformed the region's jagged mountainsides into steep terraced hillsides and valleys where Arabica coffee is grown in the same way today as it was hundreds of years ago, hence the unique flavour profile of beans from this remarkable desert country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Given the grave difficulties and dangers of exporting coffee from a region in the grip of crisis and conflict, we know from first-hand experience the high risk and, at times, labyrinthine routes undertaken by local coffee growers and exporters to access world markets. Yemeni farmers have developed ways to cope in the pit of adversity and the country's coffee plants have likewise developed a surprising resilience, including characteristics such as drought and disease resistance; characteristics that could mean as much to the future of the coffee genome as Yemen's contribution to coffee's past, when the world of coffee trade revolved around Yemen's Mokha (Mocha) Port on the coast of the Red Sea from the 15th century to the early 18th century.
No. Those aren't coffee cherries you see in the cup pictured but blueberries. Yep. We've been on a food pairing spree again for our coffee taste-testing. So much (weird) fun!
Yemen Zamarrud is a sweet pick with a unique personality that is deeply good. We often associate coffee from Yemen with "mocha" the region and Arabian coffee that is dry processed (natural), rich, winey and full bodied, typically either heavy bodied with chocolate overtones or fruitier and more balanced. Yemen beans are also sought after for Turkish coffee (made from medium to dark roasted Arabica). The world's oldest coffee blend combines Yemen Mocha and Indonesian Java. Mocha Java is an odd-couple romance between premium beans: wild, intense Yemen meets smooth and clean Java and the rest is coffee history.
City roast profile brewed in a Hario V60 pour over: The Yemeni flavour profile is unique. Beans from Yemen are small with a complex and bright (winey) acidity, and a range of flavour notes from spice to dried fruit, often described as wild and lively, a deep earthy overtone (woody, tobacco), with a distinctive chocolate finish. The City roast profile produced a sweet cup with good balance, a distinctive sweet pastry and mascarpone cheese aroma, strong spice notes with a touch of wood and an aftertaste like none other we've come across (in a good way!).
We paired our brew with various bites to eat, including cheese and crackers. The Yemeni amped up the savoury enjoyment of the cheese nicely (and we stopped to gobble here). We also thought to try ripe (almost too ripe) blueberries thinking this would afford us a sour experience but instead we were amazed at how intensely delicious this combination was. Berries, particularly blueberry, can sink a coffee (if they're not part of the profile flavour and consumed as a side or topping on a cereal or dessert) but, it turns out, ripe is a different story. Adventure! That's what coffee is all about.
Full City roast profile brewed in a French Press: The extra body at this roast profile won us over. The cup's more sugary sweetness as a City roast deepened and gained new complexity at Full City. We paired the Full City coffee with banana (and apple) loaf and chocolate fudge brownie ice-cream. The coffee's natural sweetness was overwhelmed by the ice-cream but the loaf through the Yemeni taste lens left us with a salty caramel finish that was most tasty.
Roast recommendation: The City roast is the sweet spot but darker is also good. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
Sold out. More stock expected soon
About the bean
We're welcoming a new coffee to our selection. The Brazil Natural comes to us from a very large farm in the Cerrado region of the world's most famous coffee-producing country, and, as its name makes clear: this bean was dried naturally. The natural method of drying coffee is an ancient practice that involves leaving harvested beans to dry under the sun. Simple!
This process has been likened to red wine by some connoisseurs with a renewed interest in the natural method. Like red wine, more of the skin and the fruit is absorbed. Because the seed of the coffee cherry is imbued with more of the coffee fruit's sugars and nutrients, the final result can be flavour magic. You will sometimes hear the term "wild in the cup" associated with naturally processed coffees. This method provides more in the way of flavour brilliance as well as flavour quirks. Its inconsistencies is one of the reasons why the wet method of washing the coffee seed off the fruit became the preferred process of the two. But never discount the merits of risk, coffee lovers. And this pick pays off.
A sweet softie with a thick body. Our favourite Brazilian bean in stock right now alongside the Brazil Planalto.
Grown at a low altitude of only 800m on a large farm and harvested mechanically. These indicators do not suggest the favourable outcome a bean cultivated at a higher elevation on a smaller farm with hand pickers does but this natural Brazilian is a total pleaser. In a country without the growing altitudes of more elevated coffee-producing regions, the natural process can accomplish more fruitiness, more flavour, more complexity.
Our taste test: Brewed in a French press at a City roast profile, we enjoyed a soft, velvety body reminiscent of white chocolate, a medium brightness (acidity), with a caramel underlay and some fruity flair. A pour over brew enhances these fruit notes. A most enjoyable, sweet aftertaste which is typical of the natural drying process.
For those of us who prefer a darker roast, the Brazil Natural brewed in a French press at a Vienna roast profile made a memorable impression. The deeper richness did not overwhelm or undermine the cup's balance. Great espresso potential here.
Roast Recommendation: To preference.
About the bean
We have our favourites, too!
Ah, Brazil. There's an awful lot of coffee in Brazil ... But we keep going back to this one because it's our favourite from this coffee producing powerhouse.
Our Brazil Planalto is sourced from the family-run Planalto Estate in the highlands of Nova Rezende, in the south of Mina Gerais - the country's main producer of milk and coffee. The farm's 3,600-foot altitude and surrounding natural forest create a unique microclimate, perfect for growing high-quality coffee.
The Taste Test
Hario V60 drip brew - American Roast
Very aromatic during the brewing process. This is a particularly well-balanced coffee with some jazz to it - yellow fruits and a medium-high brightness. This bean is one we enjoy because it offers more than the typical bean from Brazil, although it does offer nutty notes and good body as you might expect from a Brazilian coffee; the Planalto brings some extra special.
French Press - Full City Roast
Notes of chocolate and nut emerged at this roast profile. A Full City cup proffered a sweet and pleasant coffee; most enjoyable.
The Brazilian Planalto is a great pick for espresso, drip brews and, if it were summer, cold brews.
Species: Arabica, single origin
Cultivar: Yellow Catuai / Mundo Novo
Altitude: 1,200 m
Flavour: Citrus, slight berry; rich and caramelized.
Certifications: Humaniterra Foundation, UTZ Certified, Aliment préparé au Québec
Roasting recommendation: Nice light; medium to dark is also just right.
Beyond the cup
The Planalto Estate covers 350 acres of strictly preserved native forest and vegetation. Liquid wastes from coffee processing are recycled and treated. Coffee pulp is reused for its nutritional value.
Estate employees enjoy a full range of benefits, as well as salaries above the regional average. Worker safety is a priority.
About the bean
Strictly Soft (SS) | Fine Cup (FC)
The Swiss Water Process begins with pure water and ends with amazing coffee that is 99.9% caffeine free.
Brazilian beans with a 17/18 screen size tend to be a more consistent, higher quality offering without the pungent floral notes associated with smaller, less mature beans.
Fine Cup (FC) beans are a specialty grade coffee. Strictly Soft (SS) beans are grown at relatively low altitudes (under 4,000 ft).
Medium body, chocolate and nut notes. Good for both drip and espresso.View full product details
Sold out. More stock expected soon
About the bean
It's finally been warm enough to add some ice to our favourite beverage and this pick is perfect for both hot and chill preparation. Our current batch of Cerrado is a blend from four farms in Brazil's Minas Cerais state - the biggest producer of this coffee powerhouse nation. The price is great on this one and it's a damn fine representative of Brazil's charms: body, balance, sweetness and those nice nutty notes we look for from this region. Check out the Japanese Iced Coffee recipe we used to sample the Cerrado below.
Great price, versatile and tasty - a Brazilian favourite.
Region: Cerrado Mineiro (Minas Gerais state)
Altitude: 800- 1,300 masl.
Full City roast brewed in a Hario V60 pour over (served as Japanese Iced Coffee)
For the Japanese Iced Coffee, we used the same ratio as we would for a regular V60 pour over brew: 30g of coffee to 500ml of water. But instead of using all of that water, we used half for brewing (250ml) and the other half (250ml) to make ice cubes. Adjust the ratio of coffee to water to suit preference but be sure to replace half of the water with the same in ice cubes - the ice cubes lock in flavour and dilute what could be a too-strong cup. The genius of this method: there's no need to refrigerate. You will, however, need a manual pour over for the job. Our go-to brewers are: Chemex and the Hario V60 dripper. Help yourself to the recipe we followed here.
Feel free to add extras. We recommend popping in peppermint, just mint, orange or lemon peel, a sprig of rosemary - whatever you fancy. By itself, the iced coffee is potent, sweet and pleasantly permeated with notes of dark chocolate and dried plums. We're looking forward to a summer of Japanese Iced Coffee.
American roast brewed in a French press
Nice balance, good body, medium brightness and a sweet caramel deliciousness followed in the aftertaste.
Roast recommendation: City to Full City (soft bean, will roast quickly). For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.