Mocha…Yemeni coffee [Archives:2006/950/Letters to the Editor]

May 29 2006

Mozi Bayer
Los Angeles, USA
[email protected]

Most of the Americans know very little about Yemen but most of them knows the word: Mocha, very well. Americans love to drink coffee. In recent years Starbucks Coffee shops were open in all over the United States. They became so popular that they even established branches in European countries and even in Middle East. Most of the Americans stop in one of the coffee shops on the way to work and they sip their coffee while they drive.

When you are in Starbucks Coffee Shop, you will see lots of varieties of coffees. Coffee from Brazil, from Colombia and Mocha Coffee. In fact the Mocha coffee is one of the most popular ones.

The Americans who drink Mocha coffee don't know that the name comes from Yemen. Al Mucha, the historical port city of Yemen had given its name to this popular coffee. When Yemen was ruled by Turks, coffee was brought to Ottoman Empire from the port of Al Mucha. Turks invented a cooking style of coffee and for many centuries it is known as Turkish Coffee. Armenians and Greeks cook coffee exactly at the same way, but for nationalistic purposes, they call the coffee; Armenian Coffee, or Greek Coffee.

These days in my home country, Turkey, tea is drank much more than the Turkish Coffee. First of all coffee is imported from South America and it is much more expensive than tea which is grown in Turkey. Secondly most of the young people finds coffee very strong and they prefer the soothing taste of brewed tea. It is great to drink a cup of tea flavored with a slice of lemon either in a cold winter day, or in a hot summer night. Nevertheless Turkish coffee is drank in some occasions, such as in engagement and wedding ceremonies. The young people who prefer to drink coffee use the instant coffee instead of traditional Turkish Coffee. Nescafe is the most popular instant coffee brand and even when the people uses other brands, they still call instant coffee as Nescafe!

Mocha gives its name not only to coffee, but also to coffee flavored ice cream and chocolates.

I regret that Yemen today is producing much less coffee than a century ago. I heard that Qat plants is replacing the coffee ones. I hope the Yemeni farmers will show more interest to their legendary coffee and they will give more chance to coffee lovers in the world to taste their Mocha coffee.