Since we launched our Port of Mokha coffee, we’ve witnessed some beautiful moments with our guests and our own staff. For many of us, it’s been a vivid reminder of why we do what we do, a reassuring proof that serving delicious coffee can make a difference in the lives of people we meet in our cafes and the farmers we’ve yet to meet in Yemen.
Our chapter of the story of coffee in Yemen began a few weeks ago with an evening in conversation with the people responsible for bringing this coffee to our cafes: James Freeman, Mokhtar Alkhanshali, and Charlie Habegger.
Photo: Nick Wolf Photography
Mokhtar told us about the farmers’ struggles to grow coffee and how his project, Port of Mokha, is reviving Yemen’s coffee legacy. Farmers are learning how to grow the most beautiful coffee cherry and in turn are earning better wages for their families. One farmer said that Port of Mokha has covered the cost of six weddings in their village.
Photo: Mokhtar Alkhanshali
Through Mokhtar, we were able to hear about some of the reactions from the farmers, who followed their coffee’s release from afar:
“It gives me and our villagers so much joy and pride to know that people are appreciating our coffees and are pleased with them. Our farmers worked really hard to produce the best we could. Our country is going through a difficult war where we have lost many farmers, including my own nephew, so good news like this is what helps us keep going." –Majed Al Rumaym, President of the Roowad Cooperative in Hayma
"When I saw the picture of my coffee being brewed on a strange laboratory device [a siphon], I was a bit confused. But after Mokhtar told me what it was, I was overjoyed because never did I think that my coffee would reach such faraway lands and be made in such a strange way." –Hussein al-Haba, Farmer
Then, when we released the coffee online and in our cafes, a wonderful thing happened. We got to hear some really nice things from guests. We read encouraging words by people who understood and supported our obsessive quest for great coffee. And we personally relished the coffee at our desks, on our breaks, and behind our coffee bars.
We sipped it in Palo Alto:
We discussed it with our parents in Culver City:
We poured it in New York:
We savored it in Oakland:
We conjured it in San Francisco:
We celebrated it in Venice:
All told, the past couple weeks with Port of Mokha have been like getting all our guests and staff across the country together to share one cup of coffee. If you haven’t already, we hope you get the chance to share a cup or two with us soon.