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From the Shores of the Red Sea: The Rise and Fall of Mocha Coffee

  People who usually drink coffee must be familiar with “mocha coffee”. This mellow, rich, classic coffee style is named after a port on the shores of the Red Sea. It once spread coffee to the world, but now it has been silent for a hundred years…
  Coffee that is not “Western”
  Today, coffee is often regarded as a “Western lifestyle”, but its origin is not at all “Western”. It is generally believed that the coffee tree was first discovered in Ethiopia, an ancient country in East Africa, in the 6th century AD. Ethiopians eat coffee cherries and their seeds as refreshing snacks.
  It was not until the 15th century that coffee began to spread to the world, but the center of dissemination was Yemen across the Red Sea. The Yemenis introduced coffee trees to their hometown, cultivated their own coffee bean strains, and invented the first coffee drink – boiling water with coffee pulp or coffee beans (the method of grinding coffee beans and boiling water requires 16 years of age) century was invented by the Turks). Local Sufi Muslims drink coffee before evening prayers and meditation to stay awake.
  Well-informed Arab merchants quickly discovered the value of coffee: Islam prohibits drinking alcohol, and coffee is an excellent alternative drink. However, coffee is mainly produced in the mountainous areas of central and western Yemen and is difficult to transport to commercial ports in the south.
  From a small fishing village to the Pearl of the Red Sea
  So on the coast of the Red Sea in western Yemen, a small fishing village called “Mocha” began to rise. Coffee beans produced in the mountainous areas are carried by camels to the port of Mocha, from where they are shipped to major ports in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Gradually, “Mocha” became synonymous with coffee.
  The craze for coffee gradually spread from Islamic countries to Europe. The status of the Port of Mocha has also skyrocketed, becoming an important port on the Red Sea coast. In the heyday of the Port of Mocha in the 17th century, the port and urban area were guarded by a huge city wall. Castles, mosques and mansions were lined with castles, as well as specialized European and Jewish neighborhoods.
  In order to monopolize the supply of goods, the Kingdom of Yemen prohibits unroasted coffee beans from leaving the country. However, in the early 17th century, several Dutch businessmen smuggled out a few coffee seeds and cultivated them in Europe. The colonists’ ships brought coffee to various tropical colonies: Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Jamaica…Yemen coffee has thus become “the coffee of the world.”
  Coffee Empire, no longer glorious
  . By the beginning of the 19th century, the Port of Mocha was still an important coffee trading center. But it has lost its monopoly as coffee cultivation has blossomed around the world and as siltation in ports hampers shipping. In 1820, warships of the British East India Company attacked the port of Mocha, which made matters worse. Coupled with the onslaught of cheap coffee from other origins, Yemeni coffee’s market share quickly shrank until it was insignificant.
  To this day, “Mocha” is still an indelible name in the coffee world, and the unique and mellow aroma of Yemeni coffee beans is still sought after by coffee lovers. However, Yemen, which brought coffee to the world, has a sad fate. After experiencing colonization, independence, north-south division and reunification in 1990, the country broke out into civil war twice in 1994 and 2015, and has yet to usher in peace… And the Port of Mocha, which has fallen from its peak, is now just a A small town that was poor, dilapidated, and ravaged by war.