Yemen Coffee History

+ 5 Best Yemen Coffee Beans Available

Yemen Coffee History 

Yemen is thought to be one of the first countries to cultivate coffee. Hundreds of years ago, Yemeni coffee held a pristine reputation. Today? The reputation remains pristine, but many other things have changed drastically. 

Today, there is an ongoing civil war in Yemen. Coffee production and subsequent exportation was non-existent for a time, and still remains very limited. In spite of this, Yemeni coffee has not been forgotten and is still in demand across the world. People are willing to pay largely inflated prices that are a result of the severely limited supply. Purchasing coffee beans from the operational farms and establishments offers a direct benefit to the fragile economic state of Yemen.

We have compiled a list of our 5 best Yemeni coffee beans that are currently available!

Just here for some Yemeni coffee recommendations? Here's a quick summary!

The Coffee

The Visual

Defining Aspects

Available As...

Mocha

Yemen Coffee Yemen Mocha Coffee Whole Bean
  • Earth, cocoa & spice
  • Bright wine-toned acidity

Organic Mocha Java

Mocha Java Blend Whole Bean
  • The classical blend & Organic!
  • Earth, nuts & cocoa

Haraz

Yemen Coffee Yemen Haraz Coffee Whole Bean
  • Raisins & chocolate!
  • Bright, fruity acidity

Mocca Sanani

Yemen Coffee Yemen Mocca Sanani Coffee Whole Bean
  • Exotic & Earthy
  • Fruit & chocolate

Haraaz

Yemen Haraaz Coffee Whole Bean
  • Fruit, wine & dark chocolate
  • Smoky sweetness

Not sure which one you should try? If we had to pick just one, it would probably be this Mocha coffee!


The Influence of Yemeni Coffee

A number of elements of Yemen’s coffee history are ingrained in society today. When discussing coffee species, beans are often referred to as Coffea arabica or Coffea robusta. The majority of specialty coffee today is Coffea Arabica. The term Coffea arabica comes from Yemen.

Be it referred to as Mocha, Mocca or Mokka... you’re probably familiar with the term Mocha. Mocha has been heavily commercialized into a brand that implies a certain chocolate taste. In reality, the term Mocha comes from the name of the main port in Yemen, where coffee has been historically shipped from. Although coffees from Mocha often contain notes of dark chocolate or cocoa, they are certainly not anywhere close to the half coffee, half hot chocolate style drinks that are available commercially.

Yemen Coffee History

Sana'a, capital city of Yemen and origin of Sanani beans!


Yemen Mocha Coffee Taste Profile

Yemen Mocha coffee deserves to be discussed separately from the commercial product with added chocolate. Mocha was actually the largest coffee marketplace for hundreds of years from the 1500s to the early 1800s.

Mocha coffee beans are known to produce a very distinguished profile. You can expect a Mocha coffee to go something like this;

  • Rich, complex, and full-bodied
  • Notes of fruit & chocolate
  • check
    Sweet & spicy notes
  • Bright & lively wine-toned acidity
  • Significant earthy character
  • Hints of chocolate in the finish

Mocha coffees are also further divided into Sanani and Mattari classifications.

Sanani beans typically display a more balanced and fruity profile, while Mattari beans are usually heavier, with dark chocolate notes.

Mocha coffee may be the most recognized, but Yemen has a variety of other beans to offer. Several coffee growing regions within the Arabian peninsula lie within a close proximity to the Red Sea. The Haraz (or Haraaz) mountains provide an ideal high altitude growing region. We've represented this mountain range in our list!


Mocha Java Coffee Blend

You’ve probably heard of the classical Mocha Java coffee blend before. Thought to be the first ever blend of different coffee beans, Mocha Java is comprised of beans from Yemen and Indonesia.

Yemen Mocha beans offer their signature bright, lively, wine-toned acidity and Indonesian Java beans balance out the profile while simultaneously adding to the complexity.

If you are to try one coffee blend, it should be Mocha Java, hands down.

Today, the name Mocha Java is often used as a brand more than an indication of coffee bean origin. Many companies take the principle of the Mocha Java blend, and apply it to coffees from different origins. This is due largely to the scarcity of Yemeni coffee. Although nothing can quite compare to the original, there are many respectable blends out there.

Mocha Java Blend

Some beans just go well together. Mocha & Java are the perfect match!


The Best Yemeni Coffees Currently Available

Despite the shortage of coffee from Yemen, there are still a few quality options available. Here are our 5 best available Yemeni coffees!


1. Mocha Coffee

Roasted By: Al Mohka

Roast: Medium-Dark

Taste: Rich, notes of earth, cocoa & spice

First up we have a great representation of the well known Mocha bean. This coffee does in fact have some notes of chocolate in the cup and the finish. That being said, this is Yemen Mocha coffee, not your local fast food chain cafe mocha! This luxurious coffee is heavy and rich, with notes of cocoa, spice and plenty of earthy character. The signature wine-toned acidity of Mocha coffee is on display in full force here. This coffee is quite complex, with many different aspects contributing to the taste profile. This is a great option for coffee enthusiasts, as a well developed palate will appreciate it most. We highly recommend drinking it black to fully appreciate everything that is going on!


2. Organic Mocha Java Blend

Roasted By: The Bean Coffee Company

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, complex, notes of nuts, earth & cocoa

I'm sure you must have expected to see a Mocha Java blend in this list, here it is! These organic beans showcase why the first ever blend still holds up today. The Mocha Java blend offers the perfect balance of lively acidity with notes of earth, nuts and cocoa. This coffee has a long lasting, sweet finish that allows you to savor the taste long after the cup is gone. It's well worth getting the real deal when it comes to the Mocha Java blend. You can't beat this timeless classic!


3. Haraz Coffee

Roasted By: Sea Island Coffee

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, notes of raisin, fruit & chocolate

We'll branch away from the oh-so-famous Mocha for this next one. These beans are roasted by Sea Island Coffee, a roaster that prides themselves on providing rare and exotic beans from around the world. Yemeni coffee beans fit the bill perfectly! These beans are grown high in the Haraz (Haraaz) mountains. Distinguished raisin notes as well as other fruit and chocolate notes make up this rich flavor profile. A bright acidity that is more fruity than wine-toned gives way to a chocolate-toned finish. This coffee is not cheap, but it's great for a special occasion or gift!


4. Mocca Sanani Coffee

Roasted By: Teasia

Roast: Dark

Taste: Complex, notes of fruit, earth & chocolate

And we're back to Mocha... or Mocca. Mocca Sanani is one of the specifications that are assigned to famous brand. A strong, exotic aroma is the first thing you'll notice about these beans. What follows is a complex cup with notes of fruit, chocolate and earth. A gentle, tart acidity that is less intense than your average Yemeni coffee is present, as well as a fruity sweetness. It's no secret that Yemeni coffee comes with a high price tag attached. That being said, Teasia's Mocca Sanani coffee is the most affordable option out there!


5. Haraaz Coffee

Roasted By: Haraaz

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, notes of fruit, wine & dark chocolate

Lastly, we have another Haraaz (Haraz) coffee. To be quite honest, we don't know why multiple spellings are used in reference to the Haraaz mountains. What we do know, is that this mountain range provides ideal coffee growing conditions! This coffee is very rich, with notes of fruit, wine and dark chocolate. The Yemeni signature bright, wine-toned acidity is paired up with a distinguished smoky sweetness. This is another one that is best enjoyed black! Coffee lovers are sure to appreciate the complexity here. Be prepared to make a second pot!


We highly recommend each of these coffees from Yemen. If you have never tried Yemeni coffee, it’s time to treat yourself!

Thoughts? Comments? Have a favorite Yemeni coffee that we’ve missed? We'd love to hear about it, let us know!

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