A varied and complex cup at lighter and darker roasts. Molasses, caramel, turkish apricot, canned peaches, candied nuts, aromatic wood, rhubarb-like acidity with bakers chocolate in the finish; creamy body and viscous mouthfeel. City+ to Full City+ for Espresso. Allow at least 3 days rest, seriously.
Harasi is a coffee from the district adjacent to Ismaili, and in fact they merge to some degree. If you travel west on the road from the capital Sana'a, toward Hodeidah on the Red Sea, you will pass quite close to Harasi, as I did when traveling to Yemen a few years back. I visited an amazing zone within Harasi 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, Harasi is a nicely balanced, sweet, and clean cup of coffee. This is not to say that the other coffees lack these characteristics. Rather, Harasi is unique in it's general uniformity and is not quite as "wild" as some Yemeni's we've had in the past. There's a caramel sweetness in the dry aroma, with lots of molasses and browning sugars. Big wafts of all-spice, and even turmeric came up from the dry grounds. The wet aroma is nicely sweetened, and showed signs of cacao and brown rice syrup. Dried fruit came out in the break with apricot and peach at the top of the list. The cup profile varies quite a bit depending on roast level. Lighter roasts (City+/FC) are creamy and sweet, with notes of macadamia and Brazil nut. Fleshy fruits prevail at this roast level with equal portions turkish apricot, and canned peaches. As the cup cooled, mission fig, red raspberry, and tamarind became present with nicely balanced, rhubarb-like acidity. Darker roasts (Full City+ and up) produced lots of dark cacao and aromatic woods such as cedar and hickory in the finish. There is still plenty of fruit at the darker roast levels but they tend to be (for lack of a better way to put it) "darker", like dried fig, naturally dried apricot, plum and marion berry, offering a pectin-like sweetness. This is a great coffee for Single Origin (SO) espresso. A Full City+ roast captured lots of bakers chocolate and caramel in the shot, with a really nice viscous mouthfeel. While there were still notes of dark and ripe fruits present, Harasi tends to be more along the lines of a "classic" espresso profile. Whether cup or SO espresso, like all Yemeni coffee, Harasi 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. Harasi is a really nice coffee overall, and definitely much more "refined" than our other Yemeni coffees.