You may have noticed the Mocha Java trend picking up at your local coffee spot. You’re probably thinking Java is a computer programming language, a coffee shop brand, and a slang name for coffee. You might associate Mocha with an Italian chocolatey drink. You are right about all these things. But when it comes to talking about the roast with coffee afficionado’s, Mocha Java becomes something different.
What is Mocha Java?
Mocha Java holds a reputation of being the world’s most famous and oldest coffee blend. A cup of Mocha Java is a genuine treat to the senses. This coffee is not flavored but rather a multicultural combination of Mocha beans from Yemen and Java Arabica beans from Indonesia.
Cultivated traditionally and organically in Yemen, Mocha is a wild-growing, full-bodied coffee with a winey acidity and deep earthy tones. It has a musky fruitiness that presents a wonderful chocolate finish spiced with notes of cinnamon and cardamom.
Premium Java Arabica coffee comes from five massive coffee plantations in Java island, Indonesia, established by the Dutch government in the 18th century. Java Arabica coffee is light brown and exhibits intense woody roast tastes. It has a heavy body and almost no acidity.
Therefore, Mocha Java is a blend of the pleasant acidity and wild intensity of the Yemen Mocha bean. This amazingly complements the clean and syrupy smoothness of the Indonesian Java bean, creating an undisputed unique taste experience.
How it all came about
Coffee has been grown in Yemen since the 14th century. It was shipped in the wooden hulls of sailing ships from the port of Mocha (Mokha) at the southern tip of the Red Sea. The port was one of the busiest locations during that time. It was the primary seaport that headed to Mecca and a common stop for ships traveling between Europe and Indonesia. Although the coffee at the port was from different farms with different flavor profiles, it was easier to refer to all coffee from Yemen as ‘Mokha.’ It was an indication of where it was shipped from compared to classifying the coffee beans from specific areas.
During the 17th Century, Java was part of the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch government established some of the most extensive coffee plantations in Djampit, Blawan, Pancoer, Tugosari, and Kayumas, encompassing over 4,000 hectares each.
European merchants and sailors returning home would stop at the port of Mokha to pick up more coffee to take to Europe. During the Indian Ocean trip, the sailors would combine the beans taken from Yemen with beans they had from Java. The bright, fruity notes of the Yemen Mocha paired beautifully with the deep, rich undertones of the Java bean, and thus the Mocha Java blend was invented.
In 1876, a coffee leaf rust epidemic destroyed the flourishing coffee plantations in Java, wiping out most of the arabica cultivar in Sukabumi before spreading to East and Central Java. The Dutch decided to replace arabica first with Liberica, and later, Robusta coffee was introduced because it could withstand the disease and could suitably grow, especially at lower altitudes.
Processing Mocha Java beans
Yemen Mocha coffee beans go through a dry process. Old, botanical varieties of coffee arabica fruits are allowed to dry on the rooftops of stone houses. The beans are regularly aired, dusted, and flipped as they turn color from green to brown before the seed is removed. To this day, Mocha coffee continues to grow on stone-lined terraces and is still dried on roofs.
Java coffee beans, on the other hand, goes through the wet process. Ripe coffee cherries go into a machine called a wet mill that shakes the fruit while assisting the skin to come off the fruit. The fruit is then floated in the water and washed in a fermentation tank where the pulp can be broken down and washed off the bean. The beans are then dried in the sun.
Why is original Mocha Java so pricey?
When comparing the original Mocha Java to other coffees that emulate it, the prices are significantly different. Traditional Mocha Java blends are extremely rare and highly-priced.
Yemeni Mocha Java beans are still grown and processed in the same methods for the past five centuries. So technically, through traditional default, Yemen coffee beans are unofficially organic, making them a precious commodity. The continuous modern civil unrest in recent years in Yemen has made Mocha beans scarce. This is why roasters would source out coffee beans from Ethiopia that are close in profile and easily be transported worldwide.
The island of Java still practices monsooning. This is a common practice where the coffee beans are exposed to moisture for long periods to change and develop certain flavors. As the name suggests, the farmers take advantage of the weather. This process can either be a total success or a miserable failure. The changes to the bean are irreversible and sometimes not the best. However, a successful yield can produce incredible coffees that are not affordable to mere mortals.
These are the main reasons why modern versions of Mocha Java combine readily available Sumatran and Ethiopian coffees. Like the Yemeni Mocha coffee, Ethiopian Harrar is a dry-processed coffee made from arabica’s ancient cultivars. Both coffees share a rough acidity and winy, high notes. Harrar coffees are sometimes referred to as Mocha, Mocca, or Moka.
Coffee from Sumatra is a substitute for Java coffee as it also undergoes wet processing methods. Sumatra coffees are closer in style and character to the original Java coffees. Modern coffee buyers feel that premium Sumatran coffees are better than superior Java coffees.
Mocha Java coffee pairing
While Mocha Java beans can be enjoyed as a regular brewed cup of coffee, the beans can be used to prepare other espresso-based beverages. This coffee goes down well when paired with a Lemon Cheesecake. The bright, fruity notes of the Mocha bean or Banana Bread to complement the earthy, herbal Java notes. Treat your taste buds to an orchestra of tastes, flavors, notes, and tones with a Mocha Java coffee today.