What do mountain biking and Yemen have in common? Well very little really, other than when you combine the two it can make for an interesting time.

The background...

I grabbed some of the Al Haj Yemen Mocha Matari green coffee bean from the GCBC a couple of weeks ago. I got around to roasting it just last week. I took it to a full city+ roast level as I wanted to run it in some espresso blends (in particular the Java Prince and the Beccor Lot 152). It smells great in the canning jar when you twist off the lid and in the espresso blend I think it is adding some wild funky fruit and I think some exotic gaminess but I could be wrong. And it was with this in mind (maybe being wrong) that yesterday I figured rather than pulling a single origin shot with the Al Haj, I would french press it. Jiminy Cricket! It was freakin' good. So good I told myself I would grab another french press of it today (didn't happen as the boys were in no mood for me tweaking in the kitchen) but instead of tweaking I bbq'd up a deer roast that turned out nearly as good as the Al Haj from yesterday. But I digress. The Yemenese coffee was marvie, is marvie and I am sure that tomorrow will be a single origin Al Haj adventure; if it doesn't work out as single origin on the espresso machine there is the backup position of the french press, yum!

So what does a Yemen coffee have to do with mountain biking? Bear with me intrepid readers.

I was drinking the Al Haj french press while Evan and I were out that morning washing the mud off from my last ride. I kept putting it down to get some more mud off (and try to control Evan and the hose as you can see in the photo) but kept going back to the mug sooner than I normally would to taste the coffee some more. I was enjoying the moment; prepping my ride with my oldest boy, for an evening of hammering down a trail with my pal all the while enjoying a geeeeeeerrraaattteee coffee. Before I left the house to hook up with my pal out in Kananaskis country to do the Powderface long loop I pulled a quick shot of the Al Haj, Java Prince and Beccor 152 (in the other photo). The taste of that Yemen stayed with me for half the drive to Bragg Creek. And I started thinking about how that Yemenese coffee got to my house.


The Powderface long loop is a classic. You climb for approx an hour up some tough technical trail till you hit a sweeping vista at the top and then you plunge down the other side of the mountain, ripping down switchbacks on 2-3 foot wide rocky dusty trails. Riding with my pal Shawn means we are going to do it fast and hard, no prisoner's kind of riding. Hitting the bottom of the mountain you ride for another fast 15 minutes till you hit another connecting trail and then you have about another 45 minutes of hard and fast technical riding through the mountains till you hit the parking lot.

So... mountain biking and Yemen coffee? It seems like a long stretch to link them together. Perhaps, but here's how it links together for me. The Yemen Matari bean comes from the world's oldest coffee producing region. Yemen is quite famous for many things, but what struck me that evening while I was ripping through our mountains is that the Matari is produced in the Yemen mountains, in wild areas that require donkey's to transport the produce out, probably down trails just like the one I was ripping down. High-speed cornering and braking with my buddy is not a time to daydream; you have to stay focused, on the edge and "in the game". But, for some reason, there I was multitasking my "in the game" and in parallel I was considering the mountainous regions of Yemen and a coffee I had enjoyed all day. Was it caffeine filled synaptic pathways fuelled by Yemenese product or was it something more? Yemen mountain coffee, the worlds oldest, enjoyed in my mountains. Love it.

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