The Monk of Mokha

The Monk of Mokha

By Dave Eggers


This book caught my attention so quickly! the title in itself, my love for coffee and the fact that my 3 year old Himalayan cat is named Mocha! I have previously read two books by Dave Eggers; “The Circle” which was a huge success along with the incredible movie and the other one was “Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?”.

I definitely will be buying the rest of the books by Dave Eggers, his writing style is so clear and to the point not to mention the way he thinks and the topics of his books.

Through out the 327 pages of this book we get to know the story of Mokhtar Al Khanshali, a Yemeni American who had a dream of making Yemeni coffee known to the world. His dream meant having coffee pass through the ports of Mokha once again after eighty years of not doing so!.

That dream came with a lot of sacrifice and financial responsibility. what sparked this thought was a friend of his who has seen the statue of a Yemeni man across from the building where Mokhtar has worked as a doorman. From there, things took off and he started his research about coffee and drew a business plan.

Living with his parents, having had lost a brand new laptop and money previously he did not come off as the most responsible. His parents wanted him to attend law school and for hat he had to work and save money. However, Omar a friend and entrepreneur was the one to save him from all of his financial troubles. He was deeply indebted to this man in many ways. Along with that his many friends and family members seem to have been supportive, listening to his plan and allowing him to stay at their homes for certain periods.

Mokhtar started his coffee journey through working at Blue Bean, attending cupping sessions and meeting those highly recognized names in this field including a famous coffee exporter from Ethiopia.

Travelling to Yemen and exploring all of the beautiful vast lands of farmers to do research and bring back coffee with him to America and have it rated there. Luckily some of the beans he had brought from a certain farm had made the cut. Advise from his grandparents and lots of exploration was definitely part of the success of his trip.

His second visit to Yemen carrying money loaned to him by investors, his journey was a risky one! Through the unsafe and unstable political tension and two opposing parties along with bombing Mokhtar had to buy the coffee beans and make it back for a conference in Seattle. This has to be the most intense and nerve wrecking survival story to read, the way he believed in his dream and was determined to make it regardless of passing through war zones is just astonishing.

This was an easy five star read. I do highly recommend it, especially if you are a coffee lover. There is so much information about coffee, its history and how its made it just makes one truly appreciate the effort put into the cup of coffee that we never sit or think about. Smile and compliment your barista is the least one can do!

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