Best of Yemen Auction Brings Positive Results to Country
Farmers from the birthplace of the coffee trade reveled in delight with the outcome of the Best of Yemen auction organized by Qima Coffee and the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE). The 22 winning lots were purchased for an average of $63.26/lb per pound by over 35 companies representing 12 countries. The top price of $207.50/lb paid by Shanghai Cooway Trading Co., Ltd went to 3rd place winner Yahya Allahaba, who won 1st place in last year’s Qima Private Collection Auction with ACE. The second highest price went to the 12th ranking lot for $150.50/lb by Curve Specialty Coffee Roastery.
“I now see a future for myself and my children through coffee farming. We have taken care of our coffee farms throughout our lives; it is nice to see the coffee now taking care of us. I will teach my children to continue investing in our coffee farms – this is our legacy,” said Yahya Allahaba.
Cypher Coffee in the United Arab Emirates who have been a longtime supporter of Qima, and purchased the second ranking lot – Aljidan XI, an Alchemy processed lot with Yemenia genetics. For Mohammed Merhi, owner of Cypher Coffee “This specific lot was our target, and we were going to try our best to secure it through the auction. Thankfully we managed to do so”. For the past couple of years, Cypher has been selective in purchasing unique Yemeni lots that represent the country’s exquisite cup quality. This has resulted in a sustained demand for Yemen as an origin despite the high price point associated with the origin.
“As coffee lovers and Arabs, Yemen has a special place in our hearts. Yemen is not only the birthplace of the coffee trade, but it is also where Arab tribes have all originated from. The “happy” Yemen, is how the country has been described for hundreds of years. Sadly, this has not been true recently. Yemen as we all wish it to be has been swept in internal strife and mired in civil war for years now. This has compelled us to try and do something no matter how small, to offer hope and lend a helping hand. That is why we have decided to purchase, market and promote Yemeni coffee specifically through ACE and Qima,” Merhi said, reflecting on his decision to purchase this auction lot.
“Our hope is that through this initiative, we can support the livelihoods of rural Yemeni coffee farmers and their families, not only in the short term but also in the long term through a scaled and efficiently developed value chain that can be an important employment generator and stability promoter in the country,” he continued.
UK based Colonna Ltd group purchased the 10th place lot, an 88.41 Alchemy processed Yemenia produced by Muhammed Kulaib. “We love the complexity and uniqueness of the distinctive Yemenia profiles,” said Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Colonna. “Our customers have gone mad for the last two lots we have showcased and I know they will be excited by this auction lot. I already anticipate we will have some unhappy customers who won’t be able to try it as it will go so quickly.” The company’s first high scoring lot purchase was from Yemen, which ultimately inspired their limited release series. The combination of traceable lots of unique cup profiles made it perfect to source and showcase these coffees to customers.
This auction was the third and largest installment of the Private Collection Auction series in Yemen organized by the two groups. With the aim of scaling and maximizing the impact of the program, this year’s auction expanded beyond Qima’s farmer network and was open to participation from any and all coffee farmers in Yemen. 1,900 samples were submitted from farmers across Yemen’s entire coffee lands with 22 coffees selected as winners having scored 87 points or higher.
The Best of Yemen is not only honoring the incredible work of Yemeni coffee farmers, but also helping to make a positive change to Yemen’s most vulnerable communities. At the start of the auction, Qima Coffee pledged to donate 10% of all auction proceeds to the Qima Foundation’s Tomorrow’s Leaders program, an educational sponsorship program that offers full scholarships into some of Yemen’s best schools, to help single mothers and their children. Thanks to the phenomenal success of the auction, $39,953.19 has been donated directly to the program, surpassing the fundraiser’s target by over 38% and equating to 53 years of education sponsorships.
About The Alliance for Coffee Excellence
The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) is a nonprofit 501c (6) tax exempt organization dedicated to the discovery, appreciation, and reward for top quality coffees. Its mission to support excellence in coffee includes trading and auction activities that result in the development of higher incomes and sustainable economic development for its partner coffee producing countries. ACE conducts transparent auctions rewarding individual farmers who work hard to produce exemplary coffees including Cup of Excellence® competition winners, Private Collection Auctions and others that meet its requirements. ACE also conducts cuppings, marketing, events, training, and other activities designed to increase understanding, appreciation, and premiums for exemplary coffee worldwide. ACE enjoys a global membership of top tier coffee companies. For more information visit allianceforcoffeeexcellence.org.
About Qima Coffee
Founded in 2016, Qima Coffee was established with the aim of utilising coffee as a vehicle for sustainable livelihood generation for Yemen’s rural community. Qima Coffee’s beliefs are grounded in helping to improve the lives and livelihoods of rural coffee communities and challenging perceptions of Yemen: from a place of war, poverty and destruction to a place of hope and truly unique speciality coffee. Over the years, to better understand the landscape of Yemeni coffee, Qima has invested in research that looks into the complexity of genetics in Yemeni coffee which, in turn, could hold the key to tackling key global challenges facing the coffee industry. For more information visit qimacoffee.com