Tag Archives: Yemeni Mocha

Yemeni Mocha Espresso

Sometimes you think you know about coffee and then you try something and it just surprises you and you think “Let’s through that theory out”. If you are a keen follower of my blog, you’ll have read my ranting and raving about Yemeni Mocha in my post of 3rd June 2009.

Now usually when a coffee has what I call a really special taste that wraps around your mouth and has solid tones like Yemeni Mocha, Costa Rica El Portillo and many East African arabicas, extracting this coffee as an espresso I find makes you miss out on some of the really fine tones and tastes of the coffee. However, when extracted using a French Press, you really get to experience different tastes in your mouth and it really goes down well (your stomach). Now, just last week, I had run out of “espresso” coffee – Yes ! that’s right, there are some coffees that are better extracted as espresso than in using anything else (French Press, Filter, Moka, etc). I was now in a dilemma. Should I just drink French Press coffee all weekend using my Yemeni Mocha, or should I try it as an espresso. With nothing to loose, I used my precious Yemeni Mocha for espresso and….. Wow ! What an experience. Just look at that colour and yes it does tastes like it looks, dark, mysterious, smooth and delicious.

The common characteristic of this bean is definitely chocolate – and it isn’t lost when drinking it as an espresso. It’s like dark chocolate and the colour is amazing. Perfect for latte art as you can see below, as it displays different tones of brown as the coffee blends in with the milk.

As a milk based espresso it tasted like…. come on, you can guess right ? Yep ! Milk chocolate. You don’t really need to add sugar to this drink and you can rest be assured that you won’t regret it. However, before you rush out and serve this in your cafe, there might be one reason you won’t find many places offering Yemeni Mocha as espresso based drinks – it’s relatively more expensive than other single estate or blends. Sure, roasters like Andronicas (where I ordered this coffee from) who have a cafe in Harrods – one of the most prestigious and expensive stores in London, can get clientele to pay about the equivalent of $5-$7 an espresso, but some people especially during these trying economic times might scream daylight robbery at you. So, my advice, spoil yourself and use your precious Yemeni Mocha for both types of coffee, espresso and filter, not forgetting that the same amount of coffee used to extract a double espresso will make two good cups of coffee if using a French Press.

I’m Drinking A Special Coffee…. Yemeni Mocha

Before I delve into the details of my current coffee experience, I thought that I’d give a very brief background on the coffee called Mocha. In short, the name Mocha comes from the old Yemeni port called al-Muka and was given to one of the first types of arabica coffees because it had…. mocca qualities. OK this isn’t a typo – by “mocca” I mean, chocolate like qualities. Tasting and drinking this type of coffee, provided that of course, it is made properly, should remind you of chocolate and it is no surprise that in most cafes, a mocca is typically a chocolate infused milk-based espresso drink made with additional cocoa powder or in more fancy places with chocolate syrup like Monin or Torani. Anyway back to history – mocca coffee originated from the Sidamo region in Ethiopia but it has come to represent the type of coffee grown in Yemen – the first place to grow coffee outside coffee’s home in Ethiopia. Most experts still reckon that the best mocca type coffee still comes from Yemen but similar tasting coffee can naturally be found in Ethiopia. Sadly for lovers of Yemeni coffee, coffee is being grown at a lesser scale in Yemen, meaning that what comes from Yemen is not only getting smaller in quantity but of course higher in price. The main reason for this concerns money of course and politics and so I will not proceed as this is not a blog for politics but from a coffee point of view it is very sad.

Anyway back to that scarcity thing. So, as you can imagine, when I was scanning Andronica’s World of Coffee website to buy some coffee to try, I was delightedly excited to see Yemeni Mocha on the list. I thought, if Andronicas have been supplying top quality coffee for the World famous Harrods of London then they ought to have this very special coffee. So, being a bit cautious and mindful of my pocket, I ordered 500g, to be roasted between medium (in order to bring out both a rich taste) and dark (bringing out the mocha or should I say chocolate tones). I also knew that for this special coffee, the brew of choice would have to be filter as I find this method tends to favour really rich coffees, witness El Portillo and Costa Rica Don Mayo (see previous posts this year). A further step, to make sure that I absolutely got the measurements spot on I wanted to follow the experts; so first up, I recall an e-mail I received from Anette of Square Mile Coffee (London) in which she advised me to use about 12 grammes of freshly ground coffee per 250ml/grammes of just of the boil hot water  and secondly, wait for it, weigh the water as opposed to measuring it. You may not know this, unless you are a top chef, but weighing your liquids is more accurate, so I did that at home on my electronic scales. However, I was even more lucky, because I didn’t have to through the agony of memorizing where and when to stop pouring water nor weighing freshly ground coffee, during the absence of scales at the office because my Solis Maestro Coffee grinder grinds exactly 12 grammes of coffee if you put it on setting “2” and my treasured Bodum Columbia French Press, takes exactly 250ml of hot water if you fill it almost to the top with the massive crema/foam sitting on top. Luck me eh ?  

Oh ! look at that filter coffee crema – dark, mysterious and bubbly, waiting to be drunk by moi.

Well ! I’m more than glad to report that it was more than worth it. Wow ! what a taste. Even before the bag was opened you are already promised what would be a great taste because the aroma is just wonderful – what every coffee should smell like – chocolate and nutty with a smell that goes up through your nostrils and begins to wet your appetite. The taste is like bitter sweet chocolate rolling over your tongue with “real” coffee and the taste lasts in your mouth for at least an hour undisturbed. My colleagues at work got so used it, that they would come rushing to my room as soon as it began to brew. One colleague called it the best coffee she had tasted and even after she had shared it with half a cup of hot milk – the taste was so powerful, piercing through the milk. Another colleague was so impressed that she got me to order 500g for her, which she plans to hide in her house away from her kids as she doesn’t think they’ll appreciate it, mistaking it for shelf stuff. When I gave her the bill, I said “it’s a bit expensive”, but she said “it’s worth it”. 

OK ! how do I end this ? Well ! I can tell you that I’ve ordered another 500g from Andronicas – check out their web shop on my blog roll and if you visit London, go to Harrods, 4th floor and buy some bags. My main contact at Andronicas is so kind to me that he has given me a discount on both occasions when I bought this online to be delivered in Vienna, making this coffee experience one of my best buying experiences of the year. As you know, I love variety and I’m always in the hunt for new coffees, rarely drinking the same coffee for more than 2/3 weeks in a row, but for this I’ve made an exception and will be drinking Yemeni Mocha for what will be almost 2 months in a row, at least in the afternoon after lunch, but due to the scarcity and the good guys at Andronicas, it’s worth it…. a very special coffee indeed.