At Ascension, we seek out the most beautiful coffees in the world, delivering wonder and delight in every cup. These coffees are skillfully roasted to highlight their uniquely inherent qualities. For the first time in Yemen’s history, women farmers are able to work collectively to market their coffee internationally. Ascension is thrilled to offer two extremely rare coffees from these Yemeni farmers.
Coffee is deeply connected to Yemen's history and the world owes much of its coffee culture to this country. While the coffee tree has its roots in Ethiopia, the coffee drink originated in Yemen.
Since 1450, coffee has been cultivated in Yemen the same way: the beans are terrace-grown in rugged and diverse mountain ranges resulting in stressed coffee cherries. These cherries offer a unique concentration of oils that have complex aromas and flavors. They are handpicked on small family farms and sun-dried on rooftops to reveal the coffee seed within.
Yemen prospered as coffee made its way around the world; by the early 1700s, virtually the entire country's income came from coffee exports, and the whole world's coffee supply came from Yemen.
As a result of this boom, much of Yemen's farming population moved to growing coffee in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, it is not uncommon to come across Yemeni farmers who have been working in coffee farming for multiple generations going back 400-500 years.
Over the last few years, Yemeni coffee growers have been deeply affected by war and conflict.
In an effort to bring awareness to these coffee-growing communities, Ascension is proud to partner with The Qima Foundation to bring incredible female-farmed Yemeni coffee to our cafés. Qima is tackling inequality at the heart of a conflicted community and giving more income back to Yemeni farmers.
The women farmers of Dhamar share equal responsibilities in farming, including pruning, fertilizing, watering, and harvesting. The women, who never had an opportunity to attend school, are now striving to provide educational opportunities to their own children through their farming efforts.
The women farmers of Qabal have been growing coffee for over 50 years, making them the leaders of coffee farming in their region. Their successful efforts have allowed some of the women to purchase their own land.