We Brew Coffee

Discovering the Unique Flavors of Yemen Coffee

Coffee has been an essential part of people’s lives for centuries, with millions of people around the world drinking it daily. One country that has had a significant role in the coffee industry is Yemen, which is known to produce one of the world’s most famous coffee types, Mocha.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history, flavors, growing, and harvesting of Yemen coffee. Early Years: Yemen Coffee and Its Famous Mocha

The story of coffee starts in Ethiopia, where local people used to consume coffee berries as a stimulant.

Over time, the Sufi monks (Muslim mystics) discovered that coffee helped them stay awake during long night religious rituals, spreading the beverage to other areas in the region. Yemen was among the first countries to consume coffee beans, with the beverage becoming a significant part of its culture.

In Yemen, the coffee beans were roasted lightly and ground into a powder to make a drink called “qahwa,” a name that became synonymous with coffee. One of the famous coffee cities in Yemen is Mocha, a port city located on the Red Sea coast.

The city’s name became associated with Yemen coffee because it was the primary shipping point for Yemen coffee beans, which were traded globally. Mocha coffee became so famous worldwide that the word “mocha” now refers to any coffee that has a chocolate flavor.

Flavor Profile of Yemen Coffee

The flavor characteristics of Yemen coffee are unique because of the country’s environment, which includes terraced mountainsides and dry desert-like conditions. Yemeni coffee has an earthy taste with cinnamon, spices, and raisin notes, complemented by a wine-like acidity and a tobacco-like overtone.

More specifically, when brewing Yemen coffee, one might expect the aroma to be earthy, with a hint of fresh coffee, and notes of caramelized sugar. As for the flavor, the coffee has hints of chocolate, berries, spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom), and a bright acidity.

Specialty Yemen Coffee: White Coffee

White coffee is a health fad that is gaining increasing popularity worldwide, and it originated from Yemen. White coffee is made using a short roasting process that preserves the coffee beans’ natural light color.

The coffee is ground lightly, giving it a nutty taste, and it is brewed at low temperatures. It’s also mixed with hawaij spice mix, which is a Yemeni mixture of spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.

Popular Yemen Coffee Types and Their Flavors

Yemen produces four significant coffee types: Sanani coffee, Hazari coffee, Ismaili coffee, and Yemen Mocha Matari. Each of these coffee types has distinct flavors.

Sanani coffee is a balanced coffee type with a fruity acidity, mild nutty flavors, and a hint of chocolate. Hazari coffee has earthy, spicy, and nutty notes with a moderate body, low acidity, and a smoky aroma.

Ismaili coffee has a medium body, fruit-forwardness, and bright acidity. As for Yemen Mocha Matari, it has a rich and smooth chocolatey flavor with a whiskey-like aroma.

Brewing and Roasting Tips for Yemeni Coffee

Yemeni coffee beans are generally roasted darker than other coffee beans and brewed using an espresso machine. The darker roast enhances the coffee’s flavor profile, making it more chocolatey, spicy, and smooth.

The high temperature associated with the espresso brewing method extracts more flavor from the coffee beans. For a non-espresso brewing method, medium to dark roasts are preferred.

These roasts are ground coarsely and brewed using conventional brewing methods like French press and pour-over.

Growing and Harvesting Yemen Coffee

Yemen coffee originates from wild coffea arabica trees that grow on small farms spread across terraced mountainsides. Yemen’s coffee-growing regions are located on high altitudes, which provide a suitable environment for coffee production.

Coffee trees in Yemen need little water, making them drought-resistant. The coffee trees’ height allows farmers to manually pick the coffee berries as part of the harvest season, which typically runs from November to December.

After picking the berries, they are left to dry in the sun before the beans are separated from the berries.


In conclusion, Yemen has had a significant role in the coffee industry and continues to produce some of the world’s best coffee types. Yemen coffee has a unique flavor profile with a range of complex flavors like chocolate, spices, and fruits.

The country’s environment and traditional farming practices contribute to the distinct flavor profile of Yemen coffee. So, whenever you’re drinking coffee, take a moment to appreciate the history and flavors of Yemen coffee.

Yemen coffee has a rich history and unique flavor profile, but the coffee industry in the country has suffered due to civil unrest and illness, leading to a decline in production and struggles for Yemeni coffee farmers. However, dedicated farmers and the potential for Yemen coffee to make a comeback offer hope for the future of the industry.

It’s crucial to recognize and appreciate the cultural significance of Yemen coffee and support its farmers in their efforts to maintain the tradition. As coffee lovers, we can continue to enjoy Yemen coffee’s unique flavor while helping preserve a part of Yemen’s heritage.

Popular Posts