How Coffee Impacts Yemen Culture

February 13, 2023 Abby Phillips

How Coffee Impacts Yemen Culture

Coffee has a long and rich history in Yemen. The war in Yemen has caused fear and strife for several years, marking a time of uncertainty for the economy and the communities across the country.

Because of third-wave coffee, however, the progressive demand for specialty coffee has revitalized the farming practices in Yemen. For many families in Yemen, coffee is their livelihood. 

A History of Yemen Coffee

We talked about the history of Yemen in this previous blog. To summarize from that post, Yemen coffee is unique. In Yemen, coffee is traditionally grown at high elevations in difficult environments receiving little rainfall. As a result, the varietals that developed in Yemen had to survive a harsh climate. For centuries, these plants have adapted to the unique growing conditions, making Yemen coffee unlike any other. This added stress also increases the number of nutrients and sugars pushed to the cherries, ultimately increasing cup complexity. 

Due to the lack of rainfall, Yemen coffee has always been sun-dried (natural), further increasing the sweetness of the cup. This country’s coffee is much like Yemen itself: mysterious, intriguing, and complex.

Coffee’s Impact on Yemen Culture

Coffee farmers’ resilience through the trials of this trade speaks volumes of its importance. Because of the war, many people have taken up their ancestral practice of growing coffee. However, another cash crop has infiltrated the market and culture of Yemen, khat, a mild narcotic leaf. While switching crops could prove valuable, many farms are dedicated to continuing the long-standing tradition of growing coffee. 

For many of these farmers and their families, coffee is a central part of their lives. It’s common to drink coffee together while sharing stories or talking about your day. For many, it signals hope for the future.

Demand for specialty coffee is growing, and the market is certainly maturing faster and faster. The coffee culture of Yemen is slowly but surely being revitalized as young entrepreneurs are pushing for its revival, tapping into the industry’s production side to offer high-quality coffee beans to coffee enthusiasts worldwide. 

Taste the sweetness of Yemeni coffee here!