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Mokhtar spend 3 years touring Yemen’s coffee farms, many accessible only by foot. He took meticulous notes on climate, elevation, soil, and health of the coffee trees. Most importantly, he spent time getting to know farmers and their families, hearing their stories, and learning about their practices.
From there, we set about building infrastructure: bringing in modern equipment, such as drying beds and moisture analyzers, along with modern agricultural methods employed by top producers in coffee regions like Panama.
Through regular meetings and workshops, we educate farmers on best practices, on everything from planting to harvesting to processing and storing. We’ve even gone as far as taking a group of farmers to Ethiopia so they could exchange ideas and knowledge.
We offer interest-free microloans to farmers as well as pay the highest prices for beans that meet our quality standards. This provides the financial incentive (and patience) to pick only the ripest cherries.
Once coffee is produced, we keep farmers in the loop on it’s journey to other parts of the world. We continually update them with news of cupping results, ratings, and reviews.
Our goal in working with famers is elevate their quality of life through improving the quality of their crop. To that end, we are proud that we’re seeing more farmers opt for growing coffee instead of Khat. We’ve promoted gender equity by requiring all coffee collectives have boards with at least 50% women. And our microloans have financed weddings and community projects in our farmers' villages.
Upon his return, Mokhtar’s harrowing boat escape from Yemen was covered extensively in the press. And several days later, at SCAA in Seattle. In a blind cupping, Port of Mokha coffee was awarded a 90+, beating out many coffees from world-renowned farms. (Incidently, in February, 2017, Coffee Review rated Port of Mokha’s Hayma Microlot a 97, the highest rating the coffee review bestows.)