When these two coffees were first blended centuries ago, they were undoubtedly much different than what’s grown in Yemen and Indonesia today. Yet this combination of rich Mocha coffee from Arabia, tempered with estate-grown Java, remains a popular blend around the world. And it’s easy to see why when you taste the bittersweet chocolate flavor.
In fact, the word “mocha” became associated with chocolate because Europeans’ first experiences with cocoa, in the 17th century, reminded them of the bittersweet coffee they imported from Yemen.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Arabian Mocha Java, from Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Emeryville, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Yemen // Indonesia
cultivars: Mocha // Java
method: Hario V60
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 30 g
water: 450 mL
pour: 2:30 concentric pour, 1:00 drop
Opening the bag of Arabian Mocha Java, I see that I am in for an experience not unlike the one I had last week with Peet’s Guatemala Bella Carmona; the beans are dark brown and intensely oily, the lining of the bag absolutely coated with oil. And that aroma… Woof. It has that bittersweet dark chocolate that this specific blend is so famous for, but it is masked in a smoky shroud of roast, gas, and carbon.
Oh, boy. Taking the first few sips of the cup… I think that’s about all I’ll take. Good gravy. Dark chocolate and caramel are certainly present, but they’re not redeeming enough for me to go on drinking this coffee. It was evident as soon as I looked at those oily beans that all of the best flavors had been roasted out, leaving nothing behind but funk, roast, metal, carbon, nitrogen, diesel, and fish oil.
Full body; oily mouthfeel; no acidity; dry finish.
I am exceptionally disappointed in my experience with the two coffees Peet’s Coffee and Tea sent me—the Arabian Mocha Java and Guatemala Bella Carmona, both. And, like I said before, it’s not just because the coffees are so bad, it’s because I have such a special place in my heart for Peet’s. They are, after all, the ones who sparked my love for coffee.
When I worked for Peet’s Coffee, Arabian Mocha Java was one of my favorite offerings of theirs. I was particularly enamored with it because it was the first coffee I had ever tried that had clear tasting notes: bittersweet dark chocolate. A lot has changed in the five years it’s been since I had that revelatory experience, though. Not the least of which was my opinion of this coffee.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.