Mocha – one word, 6 surprising meanings

Mocha – one word, 6 surprising meanings

You can experience many surprises when you order a mocha, because the term mocha is used in many ways. It describes a city, a harbor, coffee beans, a certain coffee blend, a coffee pot, and various forms of coffee preparations.

The port city
  • Mocha or Mokha is a port town in the south-west of Yemen – today less important.
  • المخا (Al-Muchá or al-Muhá) as the city is called in Arabic, was once the most important export port of Yemen for coffee.
  • The coffee was named after this city.
  • For a long time the world-wide coffee production was shipped exclusively via Mokha.
  • The often wild growing beans were mostly from Ethiopia later also from the Yemen.
  • In order not to offer coffee cultivation to other countries, the coffee beans in Yemen were poured with hot water before exporting in order to prevent their germination
  • Mokka became the synonym for strong coffee with chocolate notes.
mocha - coffee species and varieties
Coffee type or variety Mocha
  • In Ethiopia grows coffee that is often referred to as “Ethiopian mocha”.
  • Botanically not 100% clear, whether this is a coffee type (“Coffea Mocha”) or a variety (“Coffea Arabica var. Mocha”).
  • The largest cultivation areas are Sidamo, Limu, Gimba, Lekempti, Yirgacheffe, Bonga and Harar.
  • The coffee has a distinct body, powerful cocoa notes, fruit notes such as cassis, blackberry or black cherry and some also floral, jasmine-like aromas.
Beans form
  • The Ethiopian mocha has a high percentage of perl beans, also referred to as Peaberries (PB) or Caracoli.
  • The Brazilians call this bean shape Moca – in Brazil a rather undesirable form, which is sold cheaper.
  • In all other countries, peaberries are considered to be particularly high-quality and so more expensive, as it is said the monotonous growth means more flavor.
Moka pot – Caffè­tiè­ra
  • In 1933 the Italian Alfonso Bialetti developed the “Moka Express” – one the legendary pot of aluminum.
  • You get the octagonal pot in various sizes and shapes to buy.
  • The coffee is brewed by the steam pressure arising during heating.
  • Anyway, the high brewing temperature can make the coffee to taste bitter.
  • For anyone who is concerned about health issues causd by aluminum, the jug is also available made of stainless steel.


The Mocha
  • The Turkish mocha is one of the oldest forms of preparation and since 2013 belongs to the Unesco World Cultural Heritage.
  • The powdered coffee ground (and sugar) are poured with water in the cezve and boiled.
  • This type of preparation is common in most countries of the eastern Mediterranean, such as Greece.
  • Depending on the tradition, spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon or allspice are also added.
  • In the United Arab Emirates also saffron and rose water.
Caffè Mocha – Mochaccino
  • The name is derived from the port town in Yemen.
  • Caffè Mocha is a cappuccino, with hot chocolate or chocolate syrup and milk froth or cream topping.
  • Furthermore in Austria the “kleine Schwarze” is also called mocha.

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