In Marin / CONVERSATION
interviews. Every few weeks I would remember
something and tell Dave. He also interviewed
my close friends and family. Probably the
biggest help for Dave in all of this was the
fact that I am a millennial and so my life
was well documented, between Facebook
Readers in Marin might like to know the role
Mill Valley’s Willem Boot played in your
immersion into the finer points of coffee connoisseurship. Willem is my coffee Mr. Miyagi.
It was at his hands that I learned the arts of
coffee making. Roasters, farmers and baristas
from all over the world flock to Boot Coffee,
located now in San Rafael. Their tagline is
“master coffee with coffee masters,” and that
they are. My friendship with Willem and his
wife, Catherine, has been an incredible blessing in my life.
Were there language problems as you traveled across Yemen? When I was finishing
middle school I was getting into a lot of
trouble in and outside of school. My parents
couldn’t handle me anymore and made the
decision to send me to Yemen to live with my
grandparents. It was sort of like boot camp.
While I was there I was able to learn Arabic
at an academic level and spend time with my
grandfather Hamood. I saw how he dealt with
various tribes and situations and how he carried himself. He is the patriarch of our family.
This time that I spent in Yemen would be the
reason why years later when I started this
coffee project I would be able to work with different tribes. I was able to adapt and speak in
the various dialects.
On your first trip into Yemen, was there a
time you felt this is it; there is no way I can get
past this interrogation, this checkpoint or this
customs inspection? My first farm visit was
one I can never forget. We turned a corner and
You will taste sweet jam,
tropical and floral notes
and hints of cocoa. A sweet
lingering aftertaste, coffee that
is pure pleasure.