We are thrilled and honored to announce that Yemen Haraaz Red Mahal Aqeeq ul Station Natural—a Blue Label offering roasted by our Head Roaster Mike Mazulo, with help of Lara Prahm—was No. 1 in Coffee Review’s Top 30 Coffees of 2022!
Here’s how they described it:
“This exceptional coffee was selected as the No. 1 coffee on Coffee Review’s list of the Top 30 Coffees of 2022. Produced by smallholding farmers, from the Tuffahi, Dawairi, Jaadi and other heirloom varieties of Arabica, in collaboration with Al-Ezzi Industries, and processed by the natural method (dried in the whole fruit).”
It’s the cherry on top of an exciting year for us here at PT’s. Beyond nabbing the top spot with this unique Yemeni offering, we garnered praise for special lots from producers you might be more familiar with throughout the year:
- 94 Points for Granja La Esperanza Tres Dragones Natural, June 2022
- 95 Points for Hacienda La Esmeralda Porton 5N49 Gesha Natural, June 2022
- 95 Points for Hacienda Bajo Mano Static Gesha Natural, July 2022
Achieving the No. 1 spot was no mean feat, from the farm to our roasting facility. Shabir Ezzi of Yemeni coffee exporter Al-Ezzi Industries began focusing on buying fresh, not dried, cherries directly from producers in partnership with Cafe Imports in the mid-2010s. This allowed them to control the drying process, drying the cherries evenly on raised beds instead of the traditional patios or rooftops.
Al-Ezzi’s business also differs from the traditional Yemeni coffee market by paying farmers a higher base price for bringing their harvest to participating receiving stations. They are paid premiums for coffees that meet certain standards such as moisture content and quality selection. Fresh, ripe red cherries earn the farmer an additional premium over traditional dried cherries, as this allows Al-Ezzi to ensure quality before drying. Farmers are issued ID cards voluntarily to keep track of deliveries and ensure payment. Each farmer’s contributions are recorded so that the coffees are traceable back down to the individual.
Our very own Mike Mazulo and Lara Prahm took extreme care to develop a sweet, balanced roast profile that allows the coffee’s inherent flavors and complexity to shine. As Coffee Review's synopsis attests, the results are unmistakable:
“Lyrically sweet, stunningly deep, engagingly complex. Dried black cherry, black sage, wild honey sandalwood, honeysuckle in aroma and cup. Juicy-bright structure with malic (green-apple-like) acidity; luscious, satiny mouthfeel. Integrated, multi-layered, flavor-saturated finish.
"A gorgeous stunner of a classic Yemen cup: fruit-laden, floral and sweetly herbaceous—a heady coffee, both aromatically and on the palate.”