I was very excited recently to see that my preferred green coffee supplier, Sweet Maria’s, had a supply of coffee from Yemen, specifically named for the Yemeni port city of Mokha. As well, they had a variety of coffees from the Indonesian island of Java. These are two of the oldest sites of coffee cultivation in the world. Ever wonder why the more prized variety of coffee beans is known as “Arabica,” even though it originates botanically in Africa, not the Arabian Peninsula? It’s because Yemen is where the shrubs were first cultivated, where the process of roasting the beans and brewing a drink from them was invented, and where it was first encountered by Europeans. (The link between Mocha and chocolate is a European invention, with no historical basis.) As for Java, well… we all know that Java is a synonym for coffee itself.
Not only do these two coffees have deep roots individually, but the Mokha-Java blend also goes back a long way. Although Sweet Maria’s notes it doesn’t have to be interpreted literally, I chose to do so, mixing a half-and-half batch of Yemen Mokha Sharasi and Java Sunda Candra Wulan, and roasting just through to City, or maybe a bit toward City+. I found the Yemeni coffee hard to read!
Was it the best coffee I’ve ever roasted? Probably not. (Though it was pretty good.)
But sometimes it’s important just to taste how things were once done.