ACE Yemen private collection auction raises $163,664 for producers
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The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) and Qima Coffee’s Private Collection Auction – held on 23 July – raised a total of US$163,664.19 for Yemeni producers, with an average price of US$36.13 for the 33 auction lots.

Yahya H. Al-Lahaba of the Al-Ruwad Cooperative in Sana’a, Al Hayma Al Kharijiya fetched the highest price in the competition. He received US$199.05 per pound for his natural processed coffee from Prussian Blue Coffee in China.

The ACE says this auction represents the largest auction in Yemen’s specialty coffee history. There were over 440 bids placed from buyers from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Australia, the UK, USA and South Korea.

Riaz Al Ofairy placed seventh in the competition. He says receiving US$50.50 per pound makes him feel recognised by the world’s best coffee buyers.

“I could not in my wildest dreams imagine that one day my coffee in my name would be bought by those seeking the best coffee in the world,” Al Ofairy says.

“I am proud. Proud of my product. Proud of my country. And proud of every person in the chain who has played a part in delivering my coffee to the world. I am so happy I have run out of words to express myself.”

The auction analysed nearly 500 hundred producer micro lots, narrowing it down to the top 33 with a jury comprised of professional tasters from Dubai, United States, Australia, and France. The international jury’s highest score was 92.5 out of 100. The competition was held in Portland, Oregon from 24 to June.

Faris Sheibani, Founder of Qima Coffee, says the private auction represents the potential of coffee to change lives in one of the world's most difficult environments

“This auction can deliver tangible and material improvements to some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities,” Sheibani says.

“Yemen faces the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 24 million people – some 80 per cent of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children.

“The country is on the brink of total collapse and is in dire need of an economic lifeline. Coffee has the potential to be that lifeline. We started with only 30 farmers in one community. Today we have almost 3000 farmers signed up across 15 communities throughout a 400-kilometre radius. We have proven coffee can change lives materially and sustainably. The world’s coffee culture started in Yemen and we believe reviving that culture in Yemen can go a long way towards fundamentally improving the country’s socioeconomic structure. But we cannot do that alone. We need the support of the entire
coffee community.

Faris Sheibani