Yemen Haraaz Fundraiser

A short note about our Yemen Haraaz Coffee Fundraiser.

While our country is snarled in the arguments of security, personal rights, the ethos of America’s welcoming borders and the limits of presidential powers; there are families across the globe struggling for survival. They are trapped in civil wars, insurgencies, natural disasters and religious persecutions. If they are fortunate enough to escape, it has always been through the kindness of strangers that they have been able to restart their lives. In these selfless acts we both fight our tribal human nature and realize the greatest potential in our humanity.

In view of these larger issues of our world, the notion that our work in coffee is of any real importance feels trivial. In part, this is probably a healthy reminder for us all. But truly we can play small but important roles no matter our position. Our work at Deeper Roots affords us a particularly global view. Every day we share a story of someone else’s work from a place far away from our own. Whether we’ve personally built that relationship or feel very distant from them, we are able to connect to people from around the world through coffee everyday.

We’ve never offered a Yemeni coffee in the past and very few have ever landed on our cupping table. We don’t have any direct, long term relationships with growers there. However, what a great opportunity we have now to make a positive impact, small as it may be, to the lives of those both struggling to survive in the country growing coffee, as well as those who have fled their homes to refugee camps. Thus, we’ve chosen to give 100% of the sales of our Yemen Haraaz coffee to assist with the refuge work of International Rescue Committee. We chose IRC as the recipient of our funds because of their history of good work all over the world and their broad reaching impact both abroad and for refugee resettlement here in the US.

If you haven’t read much about the civil war in Yemen or the issues facing refugees in the area check out this and the UN’s info here.  Let’s make it our aim to take the negativity that has caused the issue of refugees to rise to the top of the news and turn it towards positive action to support our fellow humans that are in crisis. 

Thanks for your participation in this project!

Deeper Roots Coffee

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What Is Peaberry?

The elusive coffee cherry that continues to smoothly flow off the tongue of coffee professionals and coffee amateurs alike – peaberry. It’s catchy and sophisticated. So what exactly is a peaberry?  Why is it unique and what causes this anomaly in the coffee world? To better understand what a peaberry is, we’ll approach it from a coffee botany standpoint.

A peaberry is an underdeveloped coffee fruit that has only one seed inside of it as opposed to the typical two seeds that develop inside a coffee cherry and it inherently grows on all coffee species.  About 5-7 % of harvests are peaberries, and they are smaller in size.  To understand why they are smaller and have only one seed, we first need to understand how fruit develops in the plant world.

A fruit of any plant is nothing more than a ripened ovary. That ovary is the fleshy substance surrounding the seeds inside the plant (also called mucilage in coffee). How do those seeds come about? Fertilization is the simple answer. With regards to the Coffea arabica species, there are 2 floral organs that we will briefly talk about, the stamens and the pistils. The stamens are the male representation and the pistils are the female representation. When the pollen from the stamens reach the pistils, it fertilizes the ovules (contained within the ovary prior to fertilization) and those ovules form into two seeds. Within Coffea arabica, there are two ovules that must be fertilized to get a typical coffee cherry. If, for some reason, there is a malfunction in that fertilization process and only one of the ovules can be fertilized you get an anomaly called peaberry.

So, why does this happen? Much research is still going on about what exactly causes it, but when you distill it down it’s a fertilization issue. Coffea arabica is self-fertile meaning, although beneficial, pollinators are not necessary to fertilize coffee flowers. Both the stamens and pistils are in the same flower and are compatible with each other, but genetics are not always perfect. So, what exactly causes the incompatibility? Is it an issue in the uptake of pollen? Is it an ovary malfunction? Is it the pollen itself? Does it have to do with genetic diversity in Coffea arabica? It’s still an ongoing discussion and more research needs to be done to fully understand how it comes about, but it becomes a conversation of genetic diversity and maintaining good breeding practices. The farther away we get from true Coffea arabica genetics, the more genetic malfunctions we get. So, celebrate proper horticultural practices and celebrate quality cups. Tasting is knowing, so drink up!