Sharasi is a uniquely sweet Yemeni coffee, even harnessing butterscotch flavors at City+/FC roast levels, moving toward minimally-processed sugars - blackstrap molasses, and earth-toned rice syrup. Heavy and complex cocoa tones build with roast development. City+ to Full City+. Good for Espresso.
Sharasi is a coffee from north of the capital city Sana'a, and a region I had never heard of before my travel to Yemen, now quite a few years ago. But when we cupped the separated regional lots, ones normally blended to for the generic "Sana'ani" coffee, it was clear what Sharasi was contributing to the mix; clean sweet fruited flavors. What arrived here in the container of small-lots that resulted from that trip was a bit different from what we cupped there, more muted, lower in general tonality. But it kept with the same theme; rustic sweet fruited notes, and quite "clean" in flavor for a Yemeni coffee. Since then we have offered Sharasi each year, as it always cups with a unique character, and is often the highest scoring Yemeni coffee on the cupping table. Like most of the Yemeni coffees we bring in, there tends to be a blend of qualities, bean sizes, dryness, etc...not like pristinely sorted and milled coffees we see from say, Ethiopia or Kenya. The variation plays a big role into the complexity found in the cup, but some post-roast sorting of obvious quaker beans will assist in cleaning up your final brew.
This year's Sharasi is uniquely interesting, with malted tones and a sweetness unique to Yemeni coffee. There rustic notes in the dry grounds are malted barley with a more caramel tone at City+ roast, with dark coffee candy and smokey cocoa at FC level. The wet aroma has dried banana and rustic cocoa and sweet leather. The cup is where I find unique butterscotch flavors, rare in a Yemeni coffee, countered by bittering tastes of cacao nibs. This sweetness comes on strong in the cup, an anchoring feature to support the often wild and rustic flavors. There's an inherent tilled-earthy essence to this coffee, adding to the rustic, rural taste profile. Body is very thick and carries with it a developed sugars of the minimally-processed kind, pungent molasses and earth-toned brown rice syrup. Flavors of baking chocolate and cola nut come up in the cup as it cools, along with hints of dried berry and walnut. A pleasant bittering cocoa note becomes more prevalent in the middle profile the closer you get to Full City+, but also fills out the finish in City+ and beyond roasts. This makes a nice Single Origin (SO) espresso, or crema-producing component to espresso blends. Whether cup or SO espresso, like all Yemeni coffee, Sharasi greatly benefits from a few days rest. 48 hours is great but we found 72 hours to be best.