Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American who grew up in San Francisco, moved to Yemen at 24 and immersed himself in its coffee farming culture.
Mokhtar spend 3 years touring Yemen’s coffee farms, many accessible only by foot. He took meticulous notes on climate, elevation, soil, and health of the coffee trees. Most importantly, he spent time getting to know farmers and their families, hearing their stories, and learning about their practices.
In March of 2015, after years of working with his farmers, Mokhtar was ready to share the fruits of their labors with the world. He had two suitcases packed with green coffee samples from different farms. He planned to take these to SCAA, to be judged at the world’s biggest coffee conference in Seattle.
On the eve of his departure, civil war broke out. Both civilian airports were bombed and no commercial flights were operating. While neighboring countries like India, Somalia, and Pakistan were finding ways to evacuate their citizens, the US was not taking any action.
Mokhtar headed for the Port of Mokha - the world’s original coffee trading port and made his escape in a small fishing boat with his two suitcases of coffee, and the clothes on his back.
Upon his return, Mokhtar’s harrowing boat escape from Yemen was covered extensively in the press. And several days later, at SCAA in Seattle, his two bags of coffee got the recognition from the stalwarts of specialty coffee industry with the coffee being awarded 90+ points in blind tasting.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali is an inspiration to many in the specialty coffee industry, he also the main subject and inspiration of Dave Egger's [ Pulitzer Prize finalist] next book, "The Monk of Mokha"
We are absolutely delighted to host Mokhtar @ Third Culture Coffee with Oatly for an intimate tete-a-tete about Coffee across cultures and sustainability