Cafe / Coffee / Japan

Tokyo Coffee Trail: #12 Mocha Coffee

A verdant pocket amongst the metropolitan madness.

A verdant pocket amongst the shadows of Tokyo’s concrete jungle.

Check out the cute signage.

Yemen was a dominant exporter of coffee in the fifteenth century, especially to areas around the Arabian Peninsula. The word “Mocha” has nothing to do with chocolate: it is the port of Al-Mokha in Yemen through which coffee was exported. Mocha Coffee is the only place in Tokyo that serves Yemeni coffee so it is a must-try for caffeine fiends. The verdant patio in Daikanyama is perfect for a laid-back afternoon with friends; it also offers a pocket of solitude, impervious to the metropolitan hustle.

A customer enjoying a moment of solitude.

A customer enjoying a moment of solitude.

Owner Hussein Ahmed was not around but his wife Maiko who tended the shop, was very helpful. Hussein purchases beans direct from farmers and process them at his own mills. The coffee cherries grow on mountain ranges of varying heights resulting in different bean characteristics. The cherries are dried and processed the traditional way to preserve the distinct gamey flavour.

Mocha Coffee

Mocha Coffee is the only place in Tokyo that serves Yemeni coffee.

Mocha Coffee is keen to promote Middle-Eastern culture to Japanese. The conventional Yemeni way to drink coffee is by boiling, which gives it a gritty taste. To adapt it for Japanese palates, coffee is prepared using the pourover method to capture crisp flavours of coffee beans. Handmade Middle-Eastern snacks such as fig mamool (dates cookies) and baklava (almond pie) are also available to top off your coffee with an unforgettable finish.

Wall decor in the shop.

Wall decor in the shop.

Coffee is in served vintage china cups.

Coffee is served vintage china cups.

A map of Yemen on the wall.

A map of Yemen on the wall.

8 Pointing at map

Owner Maiko kindly took down the framed map so that we could take a closer look.

Coffee came served in quaint, vintage china cups. Yemen has a unique coffee culture and it shows on the flavor profile. Mocha Mt. Somarah is a full-bodied profusion of herbaceous, fruity notes, winey flavours and bucolic sweetness with a gentle acidity. Mocha Ismaili is light bodied, with deep fruity notes and a bright acidity. One of the highest grown coffees at over 2000 metres, the Ismaili is one of the most prized coffee in Yemen.

Our orders: Mocha Mt Somarah and Mt Ismaili

Our orders: Mocha Mt Somarah and Mt Ismaili

It is heartening to know that our generation is doing a part in preserving heritage. Preserving our traditions is a heavy responsibility that requires stewardship and adaptation of practices so that the next generation can accept promptly and foster a cultural identity. It is even more comforting to know that with people like Mocha Coffee around, good coffee is handed down for generations to enjoy.

Facebook: Mocha Coffee

Website: Mocha Coffee

Address: 25-1 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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