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Qima auction brings world’s first offering of Yemenia coffee genetic group

A new genetic group of coffee, named Yemenia, has been discovered in Yemen, and will be made available for the first time in the second Qima Yemen Coffee Auction.

After several years of research into Yemen’s coffee genetics, Qima Coffee in partnership with Dr. Christophe Montagnon from RD2 Vision has announced the discovery of an entirely new genetic group of arabica coffee in Yemen.

This new group represents a previously unknown group of coffee genetics that Qima Coffee says has the potential to reshape the coffee world for decades to come. In addition to the new genetic diversity this discovery will offer to the world, it says the cup quality of the new group was found to be exceptional.

As part of Qima Coffee’s research and development program, the company undertook an unprecedented and ambitious project to investigate and map out Yemen’s genetic coffee landscape, driven by Yemen’s historic role in shaping the spread of arabica coffee.

After years of work, Qima Coffee conducted the largest genetic survey in Yemen’s history, covering an area of over 25,000 square kilometres.

Using DNA fingerprinting technology, the study assessed 137 samples of Coffea arabica across three categories: Ethiopian accessions, worldwide cultivated varieties, and a Qima breeding population from Yemen. The research has been submitted for publication in the Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution journal.

The findings showed that today, Yemen is home to almost all of the cultivated varieties in the world. More interestingly, the results also unveiled an entirely new group of genetics which can only be found in Yemen. This new group was coined ‘Yemenia’, which translates in Arabic to ‘the Yemeni mother’. The discovery represents the most significant finding in arabica coffee since the 1700s and 1900s, when the last two major genetic groups of coffee were discovered, ie Typica/bourbon and the SLs, respectively.

To assess the cup quality of Yemenia, Qima Coffee partnered with the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) to assemble an independent jury of 35 expert cuppers from 24 leading global coffee companies across 14 countries. The assessment was done blind, and the cup quality of the Yemenia coffees was found to be exceptional with numerous coffees scoring 90 or more.

Fifteen lots will be available in the second Qima Yemen Coffee Auction, held in partnership between Qima and the ACE.

“These coffees were mind-blowing.” International Judge Raphael Braune of Supremo Kaffee in Germany says.

“The cleanest and by far the sweetest natural I‘ve had in a long time. Yemenia has the berry-notes of the SL28, the sweetness of a yellow bourbon and the complexity in aroma as a Geisha.  To sum it up – it has the potential for a perfect cup coffee.”

The competition had 1550 entries, with 45 coffees passing to the International stage, which represented one of the largest juries organised by ACE in history: 35 judges from 24 companies across 14 countries.

“The coffees were amazing and full of surprises. This has been my best experience so far in tasting Yemeni coffee; explosive character and totally far from what I usually get in my cup of Yemen,” says International Judge Angelo Benedict Abordo of Cherry Beans Specialty Coffee in Qatar.

The winning lots also included five with a score of more than 90, and as well as 15 Yemenia, feature one Typica, 2 SL34, and two SL28.

Fourteen were naturally processed, on was washed, and fiver were of experimental processes, named as Special Process.

Two female farmers’ lots represent the first-ever lots produced and marketed specialty women’s coffees from Yemen.

Limited quantities of samples are available until 26 August. The lot sizes range from 87 to 1929 pounds, and opening prices start at $15 per pound. The auction will take place on 10 September.

For more information, visit www.qimacoffee.com/yemenia and www.allianceforcoffeeexcellence.org/private-collection-auction-qima

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