Maiden Mocha, LLC

Maiden Mocha, LLC (f.k.a. Mocha Coffee, LLC) is a supplier of unroasted coffee beans in Portland, Oregon. The company was established by its two founders, Mariam Alwazir and Marwan Zaid in the year 2018 CE.

In their home state of Oregon, Maiden Mocha strives to raise awareness to and garner support from coffee roasters throughout the Pacific Northwest on Yemeni coffee. One of the main principles of Maiden Mocha is to help build up the infrastructure of coffee farmers* in the Yemeni highlands, so that Yemen may once again be the epicentre of global coffee commerce, like it was during the Renaissance period. It is an ongoing effort that seeks to bridge Mariam and Marwan’s two countries together.

The company name change from Mocha Coffee to Maiden Mocha was meant to better emphasize that mocha, a globally-loved hot beverage, is made in Mocha often with the help of women, or maidens, that do not always get the acknowledgment they deserve. Hence, Maiden Mocha marries both integral components of the company into its name. One, being the cultural education aspect, and the second being the aspiration to bring all the farmers, female and male, the tools they need to thrive in business and for the generations to come.

History in a Nutshell Coffee Cherry Husk:

Mocha is generally known to be coffee with added chocolate flavour. Where it was mentioned earlier that the name of the coffee is derived from al-Mokha, where it was originally exported to the rest of the world, it must be mentioned that these very coffee cherries are grown and harvested in the highlands of northern Yemen. Coffee hailing from northern Yemen’s Haraz mountains naturally possess a chocolatey taste. How? The answer lies in lower caffeine content (compared to Colombian coffee), and specific climate conditions that give its signature flavour without any of the bitterness.

The original Mocha coffee quickly became a holy grail beverage to locals in Yemen and throughout the Old World. At first, Yemeni officials banned the international export of unroasted coffee beans and cherries, so that it would not be grown elsewhere and profited from. This ban did not stop a handful of smugglers from sneaking the raw coffee cherries into Europe, Indonesia, and the Caribbean. Yemen should have been forceful about taking ownership of their trademark coffee so that no business owner can make a profit from selling Mocha without purchasing the real Mocha from its place of origin. A similar scenario can be seen in the success of France legally trademarking the term Champagne, tying their geographic region to their popular alcoholic beverage. Any mimicry of Champagne made in other parts of the world must use another term, such as sparkling wine. Now, that is a success story al-Mocha should look up to!

Furthermore,  competition of cafés meant that business owners had to keep prices of raw material down. This lead to a corrupt version of Mocha, which shall be known as mocha**, to enter the world market. With the high prices of premium Mocha and the difficulty in attaining it from such a far away land, the legacy of Mocha began to fade. Imitation mocha became a worldwide norm: fast-food xyz coffee blended with Hershey’s chocolate syrup, or similar concoctions, were made behind the counters of many coffee shops. They sold, and the name of the imposter drink stuck around: the mocha (with monstrous variants such as mochaccino or McMocha). Concoctions that sold well, but were high in sugar, artificial flavours, and full of lies. In the purest scenario, perhaps one could get themselves a cup of quality Columbian coffee with pure, organic chocolate melted into it, but the taste would be awfully bitter without added sugar. In the last example, the coffee and cocoa are natural on their own, but not as pleasant as Mocha, which the latter does not need sugar nor a splash of milk to be a delight to the tastebuds.

Much of what Maiden Mocha knows about Mocha coffee is rooted in the fact that it is run by two Yemenite coffee snobs, one of which is also a history buff. Much more of the lesser known details, was learned directly through Port of Mokha.


*Many of Yemen’s coffee farmers today descended from a family line that was involved in coffee production.

On this page, I use the following spelling variations to refer to different things:
Mocha: with an uppercase “M”, I use Mocha to refer to authentic Yemeni coffee beverage.
**mocha: with lowercase “m”, I refer to the imposter drink.
al-Mokha: the port city of south-western Yemen.

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