Adventures in Coffee Growing – by Martin Diedrich

Sunday morning coffee harvest today. I picked coffee from just one specific tree, a Garnica Arabica variety.Coffee_picking-6-15-1 We have about 14 different Arabica varieties growing on our small Costa Mesa coffee farm. The Garnica tree was full of ripe, sweet fruit, of which the seed is the bean one makes coffee from.

The Garnica variety is a hybrid that was developed in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico in the 1960’s. That region is now the only place it grows commercially.

Our Garnica tree was heavy with coffee cherries
Our Garnica tree was heavy with coffee cherries

We are told it is a hybrid of Arabica varieties, Mundo Novo, and Caturra. Its fruit is particularly sweet, which inspired me to do an isolation on it so that in about four to six weeks when it’s ready I can roast and cup the results to see exactly what the Garnica tastes like. The coffee needed to come off the tree anyway, because the tree is setting up for a massive flowering to produce next year’s crop. One wants to have the tree able to focus it’s energy on the next crop, not the previous. In the meantime, this morning’s three pound picking yield is now fermenting. In about 48 hours I will wash it, then sun dry it for a week. Another two weeks of resting, then it will be ready for roasting and cupping. More later………..

I was able to harvest 3 lbs. of cherries from this tree today
I was able to harvest 3 lbs. of cherries from this tree today
I de-pulped the coffee beans and now they will ferment
I de-pulped the coffee beans and now they will ferment

Yemen Haraazi Supreme – a coffee pictorial from Martin Diedrich

The steep, rugged Haraaz Mountains of Northwestern Yemen are a world apart from the rest of the country. The terrain is dramatic, wild, rocky, and often inaccessible.The area has resisted the modern world and in the hinterlands one can still feel the pulse of medieval times. Ancient fortified hilltop villages of stone houses cling to the steep slopes, creating a near bibilical panorama.

Rocky mountain slopes are carved with ingenious centuries-old stone terraces to preserve the scarce soil and precious rain in this dry region, in order to grow coffee.

Approximately 500 families, living throughout the region, continue an unchanged tradition of coffee farming that goes back well over a thousand years.

Yemen is the origin of Coffea Arabica, which derives its name from Qahwa Arabiyah. For centuries, Yemen was the world’s only source of coffee which was exported from the Port of Al Makha and when permanently lent the name “Mocha” to the coffee of Yemen origin.

A FAIRLY TRADED AND ORGANIC COFFEE

The small holder farmers that grow the Yemen Haraazi Supreme that we are offering for 2011 are being rewarded for their coffee quality and efforts with a fair price. They are also getting agronomic and technical assistance to support the production of quality. These efforts and the fair prices are also supporting new wells, water treatment facilities, access to health care, and education in these communities.

Though not certified, this coffee is 100% organic. Coffee farming in Haraz is organic by default because there is no convenient availability of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. The coffee is farmed in traditional ways that have been practiced for hundreds of years – all by hand. This is in part why the coffee is so unique.

Photos courtesy of Mr. Shabbir A. Ezzi