Coffee From Yemen, With A Literary Connection


Food|Coffee From Yemen, With a Literary Connection

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A nonprofit from Mokhtar Alkhanshali, the central figure in Dave Egger’s book “The Monk of Mokha,” is helping roasters connect with Yemeni farmers.

Mokhtar Alkhanshali during a coffee tasting.
Credit…Emon Hassan for The New York Times

Florence Fabricant

In 2018 Dave Eggers wrote the improbable nail-biter, “The Monk of Mokha,” about Mokhtar Alkhanshali — an American citizen of Yemeni parents barely scraping by in San Francisco — who went to Yemen to reestablish the coffee trade in his ancestral country, the place said to be where coffee-drinking originated. He went often to Yemen, escaped the raging civil war and founded a company, Port of Mokha, to sell coffee. Last week, while tasting several coffees from Yemen Mr. Alkhanshali said he also wanted to create a nonprofit organization to help coffee farmers, 75 percent of whom are women; the result is the Mokha Institute. This year for the first time, it will run the National Yemen Coffee Auction open to roasters worldwide. The institute has selected 28 coffees, out of an original collection of 161, for the online auction; registration is open until Aug. 15 and the auction will be held Aug. 31. He said that roasters from 20 countries are expected to participate. Much of Yemen’s coffee, all arabica, is grown on steep terraced land in the mountainous western part of the country and is sun-dried, not washed. “We don’t have much water,” he said.

National Yemen Coffee Auction,

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