Buyers from 12 countries — with the heaviest representation coming from Asia, the Middle East and the United States — purchased the 22 winning lots through the online auction platform, with total sales reaching more than $385,000 for nearly 6,100 pounds of coffee.
Mohammed Merhi, owner of United Arab Emirates-based roasting company Cypher Coffee, said the company purchased winning coffees not only for their distinct attributes, but to support farmers within the war-torn country where the commercial coffee trade was born centuries ago.
“As coffee lovers and Arabs, Yemen has a special place in our hearts. Yemen is not only the birthplace of the coffee trade, but it is also where Arab tribes have all originated from. The ‘happy’ Yemen, is how the country has been described for hundreds of years. Sadly, this has not been true recently,” Merhi said in an announcement from Portland, Oregon-based ACE. “Our hope is that through this initiative, we can support the livelihoods of rural Yemeni coffee farmers and their families, not only in the short term but also in the long term through a scaled and efficiently developed value chain that can be an important employment generator and stability promoter in the country.”
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Through the partnership between Yemeni green coffee trading company Qima Coffee and ACE, Yemen was the first country in ACE’s Private Collection Auction series in 2019. This year, for the third Best of Yemen auction, coffee submissions were accepted from all over the country, with more than 1,900 samples coming in.
At the auction, the top-scoring coffee grown by Wadi Shareef was purchased for $101.01 and $101.03 per pound in split lots by a number of private companies. The highest price in the auction ($207.50 per pound) was for a coffee produced by Yahya Allahaba and purchased by a company registered as Shanghai Cooway Trading Co., Ltd.
U.S. buyers in the auction included Blue Bottle Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee and Proud Mary USA. Overall, the auction generated more than $385,000 in green coffee sales. Qima Coffee is donating 10% of the proceeds to the Qima Foundation’s Tomorrow’s Leaders program for Yemeni youth education.