Last December in Yemen, an American photojournalist held hostage by Al Qaeda was killed during an attempted rescue mission by U.S. Special Forces. Less than two weeks later, a bomb killed over a dozen schoolchildren on a bus. In early January, an explosion at the police academy in Yemen's capital took several lives. And last weekend, two French citizens were arrested on charges of being members of Al Qaeda. The U.S. State Department, not surprisingly, characterizes the security threat level in Yemen as "extremely high," and months earlier had urged all U.S. citizens to depart the country immediately.
|Provided by Matt Swenson|
Yet Matt Swenson, director of sourcing, education, and quality control at the coffee company Nobletree, was undeterred by the State Department warning, and, perhaps justifying the risk through some curious calculus of the mind, found himself on a 31-hour flight pattern (which in itself could be considered crazy) from New York to Yemen on the same day as the rescue mission. Swenson's life-risking mission? Tasting coffees from one of the founding countries in the history of the beverage. More »