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Could 'Earthy, Complex' Coffee Help Save Yemen?

The country needs an economic boost
A small coffee plantation in the Haraz mountains of Yemen
A small coffee plantation in the Haraz mountains of YemenPhotograph by Markus Kirchgessner/laif/Redux

Yemen has some serious troubles, including hunger, water shortages, and running battles with Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are propping up the Yemeni government so its territory doesn’t become a launching pad for Al Qaeda terrorism. On Oct. 18, the State Department brought a delegation of Yemeni businesspeople to Bloomberg’s New York headquarters to discuss their desire to attract U.S. investment. What’s one thing that they said could help lift Yemen’s fortunes?

Coffee. The Yemeni city of Mocha is one of the world’s oldest sources of coffee beans. The website Specialty Coffee Advisor has this to say: “Yemen coffees are the epitome of a ‘wild cup’ and can border on scary at times because of their deep, earthy, complex pungency with overlays of dry fruit (think raisin), cardamom, dry cinnamon, and tobacco notes.”