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Call it Arabia...or Asia...or Indonesia...or Africa...no one agrees how to categorize this region. But mostly we're talking about the lower peninsulas dipping down into the equator: India, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian coffee is rarely seen on the mass market and a lot of Americans don’t even know that coffee can grow there. Yemen comes and goes with political flareups. India is the most common...but technically not part of Arabia. Certifications, fair trade organizations, and general traceability are rare and often impossible to get from any of these places.
India:India grows some fantastic coffee, with notes of spices (think cloves and cinnamon and black tea) and it is generally a clean-tasting, low acid bean.The very best coffees are the ones from particular estates, although these are rare to find in the United States.India typically tastes nice at any roast level.
The Monsooned Malabar and Malabar Gold are an oddity.Beans are left out on wooden planks during monsoon season in order to affect their taste, and indeed, they taste woodsy and earthy and salty by the time the monsoon passes.It is most common to use this in small percentage in espresso blends to give it more punch.
India grows a lot of robusta, and compared to other robustas, it is some of the least offensive tasting.
Yemen: Yemen is a fantastic coffee.The most famous regions are Sanani, Harazi, and Matari.All of them are labeled “Moka” (or Mokka, Mocca, Mokha) because that is the varietal of coffee plant which Yemen grows. The only other place that grows Mokka is Ethiopia Harrar. A farmer in Guatemala managed to harvest 8 pounds of Mokka and sold it for $505/lb because of how rare it is to grow the varietal outside of the middle-east region. None of Yemen’s coffee is sorted by size or quality, which makes it tricky to roast and tricky to purchase. It produces very high amounts of chaff, and some of the beans are tiny, while others are large.All three regions are known for undertones of bitter herbs and cocoa, but the Harazi is generally considered the most desirable region.The darker you roast it, the more bitterness you find.Lighter roasts quite often will have some stone fruit and berry undertones.Yemen coffee makes what is quite possibly the best espresso on earth, but the price and rarity of it makes it impractical to use as espresso in a commercial setting.