Mocha Hunter

"Mocha Hunter" who was on the cover of Forbes Middle East, 2017 

In March 2017, Forbes Middle East chose the Yemeni entrepreneur, Hussein Ahmed to be on one of its issues’ cover. Hussein, the CEO of "Mocha Hunters" Inc., which is concerned with the Yemeni coffee industry and export, aims through his startup company to revitalize coffee beans cultivation in Yemen and regain its international renown. The magazine also interviewed him asking about himself, his qualification and projects. Hussein Ahmed, a Yemeni migrant, specifically from Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, lives in America. He holds an international coffee sommelier certificate from “Coffee Quality Grader”. 

Hussein had previously established more than one company and several startup projects, the last of which was “Study United” Co., which facilitates the registration process for Arab students desiring to study English abroad. He had also established a café in Tokyo, Japan. The first spark of establishing "Mocha Hunters" came right to his mind after his return from Japan, where he decided to focus his business on exporting fine Yemeni coffee to America. “While I was on a business trip coming from Seattle, USA, Yemeni war broke out and the serious situation forced me to suspend my business and stuck where I was. To pay for my cost of living, I worked several modest jobs, as a driver for "Uber", as well as an employee at a mobile phone store. Then, here I met my friend and co-founder, Adham Aljahmi, an outstanding entrepreneur who works for Facebook. He was also my roommate in San Francisco. Aljahmi was so impressed with my passion for coffee, and my interest in every single detail of Yemeni coffee, that we spent a lot of time studying the market and doing the necessary marketing research. Then, we visited the most well-known cafés to do research and tastings, after about 3 months of continuous discussion, study, and planning, specifically in October 2019, we established our startup company under the name “Mocha Hunters,” Hussein said.

When he was asked about the reason behind choosing “Mocha Hunters” as a name for his company. He said, "this name is my nickname, which I gained from one of my Japanese customers when I was explaining to him the obstacles I encountered during my search for the best coffee plantations ever in Yemen amid nature, where the high mountains, plateaus, and valleys. I told him that Yemen is also characterized by its mountain terraces where coffee beans are planted, as coffee cultivation depends on these agricultural terraces, which are western-terraced highlands parallel to the Red Sea, at altitudes varying from 700:1200m above sea level, in a fascinating way. As well as, I told him how people dry coffee beans under the sunlight. Since this way is considered a natural treatment for coffee beans, and how much it is difficult to move among these mountain terraces. From this description of the circumstances I went through to find the best coffee beans ever, the Japanese customer has nicknamed me "Mocha Hunter". Then the name stuck in my mind and when we decided to establish our company in America, we could not find a better name than “Mocha Hunters”."

"Mocha Hunters” Inc., is a company specializing in the industry of Yemeni coffee, established in America, and it is currently active in Yemen and America. The company mainly works in importing premium Yemeni coffee beans from Yemen and exporting it abroad. "We aim through our “Mocha Hunters” Inc., to export our products to countries. We sell coffee beans to cafés, using fine coffee beans, Known as “Specialty Coffee”. We also desire to open our own branded café in the coming years,” Hussein said.

And about makes “Mocha Hunters” different compared to other competitors.

Hussein sees that in such difficult circumstances, that Yemen is currently going through, there are not many traders who specialize in quality, many of them treat Yemeni coffee beans as raw material, but "Mocha Hunters" differs, as it deals with Coffee as a premium product. "We supervise the production, picking, and drying of coffee beans ourselves. I have also an international coffee sommelier certificate, as I mentioned at the beginning, therefore I can simply choose the finest coffee and this is what makes us different. It is well-known that there are only two Yemeni coffee sommeliers, and the other one resides in America too. Thus, we have great experience in the field of coffee beans production and tasting, beside our experiences, we can understand the requirements of the luxury café owners, and we work to meet their requests and desires with specific conditions for the required quality level. We also have strong trust relationships with farmers, which we built over the previous years, where we deal with them as business partners, and we pay them 81:01% more than the market prices, to ensure that the best quality is provided, through which we can access to the best types of Yemeni coffee beans easily", Hussein said.

“The profit model of “Mocha Hunters” depends on the selling process to customers directly, through a monthly subscription, we also have plans to open our own branded café in several cities,” Hussein said. “We have entered into a contract with an American company specializing in the coffee industry, which has placed a fine order at present, and we are currently producing coffee beans for them. We are also selling to customers directly through a monthly subscription; there is a good number currently of these customers, and concerning direct purchase service and membership, we have not decided yet.” Hussein said. “The political circumstances and ongoing war in Yemen have created many challenges and difficulties in our business. Such as the process of shipping samples abroad was not easy. There are also major obstacles in the production process of coffee beans in our factory, due to the constant lack of electricity. However, we hope that peace will prevail in Yemen and that Yemeni coffee can be an ambassador of peace all around the world”, Hussein said.

Finally, I would like to advise those, who wish to have their own business, to focus on real solutions to the community problems. Such as energy, transportation, food, water, online education, and smartphone applications, and adapt those solutions to fit in with the local community circumstances and environment and not copycat successful projects from the western countries, without taking into account the requirements of local markets. I also advise them to master their field of work, work hard, and follow their passion,” Hussein said.

The Arabic article was published by Arageek

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