But actually, originally Mocha coffee had absolutely nothing to do with chocolate.
Al-Makha, or Al Mokha, was a port in Yemen through which the Moka beans grown in the country were exported.
Moka beans consisted of a variety of Arabica coffee beans harvested in neighbouring mountain regions in central Yemen, where despite the ongoing war, they are still grown.
Yemeni coffee growers are renowned for their care and precision in growing the crop.
This includes incubating seeds in ash in order to reduce moisture before planting, burning weeds on Saturdays to kill insects, and using their local livestock to supply organic fertilizer.
Although a variety of Arabica, the Moka beans are distinctive for their strange shape and yellow-green hue. It is also said that the Yemeni beans had a “chocolatey” taste.
So where does chocolate enter the picture?
Like many things this is lost in the mists of time but it is generally thought that the original influence was Italy.
A hot chocolate drink in Italy was particularly popular, reduced with cornstarch, making it thick and creamy unlike the runnier American variety.
It is thought the influence for Mocha was in the Piedmont region and it may be that this is where the idea of combining coffee and chocolate originated – who knows?
in Turin, chocolate was mixed with coffee and cream to produce bavareisa, which evolved in the 18th century into bicerin served in small clear glass where its components may be observed as three separate layers.
Nowadays, we are perhaps more familiar with the American-influenced mocha which is espresso-infused chocolate milk topped with a perfect spiral of whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
But however you drink it the chocolatey mocha coffee is the perfect coffee to make you smile as the winter draws in.