Haraz is intense, with pungent sarsaparilla, dried fig and tamarind. Dark cacao and aromatic wood show at deeper roast levels, still fruited, with prune and dark berry notes. Viscous body, and best with 48 - 72 hours rest. City+ to Full City+. Good for espresso.
Haraz, or Haras is a coffee from the district that includes Ismaili coffee area that we have often stocked. If you travel west on the road from the capital Sana'a, toward Hodeidah on the Red Sea, you will pass quite close to Haraz, as I did when traveling to Yemen a few years back. I visited an amazing zone within Harazi with towering, ancient stone villages, like castles precariously perched atop steep precipice. It was incredibly dramatic. All the coffee here is grown on terraces, since little land exists that is flat, except for the lowland deserts. The coffee is hauled up remarkably steep slopes, carried in small amounts, most often by donkey. This is an interesting flavor profile for Yemen too (well, they all are...) but very clean, and I fear a bit disappointing for those who want Yemeni coffee to always taste like goat hides. It doesn't, and we won't buy those ratty Yemeni coffees that come from the South. Relative to other Yemeni coffees, this cup is clean, sweetly fruited, and potent.
In comparison to our other Yemeni coffees, Bani Haraz strikes a balance between the savory-earthy flavor profile and the more rustic-fruited type. This is not to say that the other coffees are better or worse. Rather, Harazi is unique among them, as all Yemeni coffees tend to be. The sweetness in the dry aroma is a lot like the smell of browning caramel on the stove, with a waft of molasses. It has a clean, earthy scent too with a dark malted barley note in the City+ roast. The wet aroma in light roasts is reminiscent of raw Turbinado sugar, but has a strong dry spice element as well, with a suggestion of chamomile and even a bit if sandalwood. The cup is intense, with rooty notes of sarsaparilla, with dried fruits of fig and tamarind. Darker roasts (Full City+ and up) produced lots of dark cacao and aromatic wood, like the smell of cedar shakes. It's still fruited, but flavors of prune, dark berries, and stone fruits tend to take a back seat to bittersweet chocolate flavors. This is a viscous coffee, that will also make an excellent but very wild shot of espresso. Whether cup or SO espresso, like all Yemeni coffee, Harazi coffee greatly benefits from a few days rest. 48 hours is great but we found 72 hours to be best, and is definitely the case for espresso.