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Yemen Lays Claim to the Birth of the Coffee Industry, Beginning in Remote Sufi Monasteries Over 500 Years Ago


Ibn Arabi Sufi Monk

The Discovery

In 1450, Sufi monks in Yemen were the first to cultivate coffee plants and brew the drink we know today as coffee.

Yemen Coffee Traders Shipping by Camel

Camel Transport

Coffee traveled from Yemen's highlands by camel.

Cartographer Jan Jansson's Turcicum Imperium Map Mocha, Yemen

Port of Al Mokha

Yemen monopolized world coffee trade for 200 years, shipping tons of sterile beans from the port of Al Mokha.

Thriving Coffee Shop in England

Global Pastime

Drinking coffee gained popularity worldwide, with coffee shops opening in Europe beginning in 1650.


Taste Tradition

Coffee With Purpose

Read our Startup Story

Putting Extremism Out of Business

Optimistic Coffee Farmers in Yemen

Creating Jobs in Yemen

We believe that coffee farming can serve as a productive alternative to political violence.

Hand Peace Sign Painted with Yemen's Flag

Making America Safer

Economic growth in Yemen creates stability and security. Thus, coffee is an alternative to U.S. military intervention.

The Port City of Al Mokha, 1680

Sun Kissed

An Experience

Delivered Straight to Your Door

I Want It


Al Mokha Blog

Is a $1 Billion Coffee Sector in Yemen a Good Idea?

October 12, 2016

In my last post, I talked about numbers, about progress and about impact we could measure at Al Mokha. Economists tend to get wrapped up in numbers. This group of people is richer, you might say, and an economist wants to know, okay, but how do measure “rich”? Is it how much money or how many assets they have; is it how much they earn? How do you get a representative sample to answer your questions? How do you know that someone’s observable (or unobservable) characteristics aren’t influencing the way they perceive the question?

Economists have largely settled these questions. With a little effort, you could get to a point where you could measure “rich” satisfactorily, where you could answer the question of who is richest.

But some questions are simply unanswerable within the paradigm of statistical causality. Some of those questions are ones that Al Mokha wants to answer.

For instance, is coffee the best answer to Yemen’s woes?

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Yemen's $1 billion Coffee Opportunity

July 12, 2016

As a development economist with interests that are a little outside the norm, I spend a lot of my day thinking about how to measure unmeasurable things. How prevalent is a certain belief? And how does it affect people’s behavior? Can one violent event, or experience, be objectively seen as worse or more violent than another? And if so, what determines that violence—scope, tenor, frequency? How do we fix it?

So, when Anda told me he wanted to start thinking more about impact and measurement at Al Mokha, I jumped up and down with glee. From the moment he and I first talked development and coffee in Cambridge almost a year ago, I’d been questioning, "cool, but how do you measure that?"

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Meet Al Mokha's Economist who we stole from Harvard

June 12, 2016

In Part I, Anda wrote about the perils of trying to be a salesperson / academic, and how that duality plays out in the business: investors want to see sales growth whereas economists (me!) want to see real, measureable change in things like poverty levels, in coffee production, in anything we can quantify with data.

So we're working towards that. In this post, Part 2, I introduce myself and in parts III- V we tackle some tough questions.

Well, who am I? If you're here frequently you know Anda and you've heard mention of some of his advisors (as he spins tales of sinking all his time into a startup). I'm the nerdy PhD obsessed with data and development. I have a doctoral degree in economics. I spend most of my time reading and writing papers on violence against women and children and female labor force participation. I spend a lot of time thinking about very economist-y things like incentives.

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Yemen's Mocha Coffee Can Spark Economic Growth

June 01, 2016

Two years ago, I founded a two-pronged enterprise with goals to be a successful coffee retailer and an entity that used our economic engine for the benefit of the people of Yemen. We call ourselves Al Mokha, Public Benefit Corp. and we source and market Yemen's World’s First Coffee™.

It has taken me two years to wrap my head around Al Mokha’s identity. Was I a coffee company? A development organization for a third world country? The reality is we are both, a startup with two faces; just like the Roman god Janus.

Let me illuminate.

We have two customers. The first is you, the consumer, and our product is our World’s First Coffee™. Our second customer is implied, and that’s the people of Yemen. If you turn our World’s First Coffee™ inside out, our product is life changing jobs. And here we can disappear down an academic rabbit hole.

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