Yemeni Pour-Over Coffee

This is coffee as a meditative process and tradition as opposed to a quick way to caffeinate. Slowly pouring the water over the grounds in a circular motion three different times pulls out the flavors of the beans and results in a drink unlike anything you'll find at a coffee cart. Try sipping this black before adding anything to it in order to fully experience the flavors.

Yemeni Pourover Coffee
Photo: Alex Lau
Total Time:
10 mins

Yemeni coffee beans are known for being some of the finest in the world. Long a part of Yemen's history, Sufi monks began the tradition of roasting, grinding and brewing the beans in the 15th century in much the same way we do today. Coffee was enjoyed in social settings referred to as "schools for the wise", the world's first coffeehouses. The beans became a highly valued trade product, eventually making their way to Europe in the 17th century.

Today, because of civil unrest in Yemen, the international sale of Yemeni coffee has become increasingly difficult. But in spite of the hardship, there's a spark of invigoration surrounding the lost stories and cultivation of coffee in Yemen, with a growing focus on sustainable farming practices. The beans are traditionally grown at elevations that lend a winey, spiced profile to the coffee.

Hakim Sulaimani of Yafa Cafe, which offers Yemeni coffee for sale in addition to serving it at their Brooklyn cafe, recommends that and the best way to extract those flavors is to use the pour-over method, which preserves the flavor and aroma of the roasted coffee beans.


  • 20 grams Yemeni coffee beans (such as Al Mokha) (about 1/4 cup)

  • 400 grams water (about 1 2/3 cups plus 1 Tbsp.)


  1. Using a burr grinder, grind coffee beans into a medium grind. Set aside.

  2. Heat 400 grams water in an adjustable-temperature electric pour-over kettle with a gooseneck spout to 205°F according to manufacturer's instructions. (Alternatively, bring water to a boil in a stovetop pour-over gooseneck kettle. Remove from heat, and let cool 30 seconds.)

  3. Place coffee dripper from pour-over set on top of coffee server. Place 1 bleached paper filter in dripper, and place the entire pour-over set on a digital food scale. Pour 30 grams hot water onto filter to wet it. (This step will eliminate any flavor from the bleached paper, as well as preheat the coffee server.) Once water has passed through filter, discard water in server. Return dripper with filter to top of server.

  4. Add ground coffee to filter. Start a timer. Slowly pour 50 grams hot water over ground coffee in a circular motion to saturate all the coffee grounds. Give server a little circular shake to evenly distribute coffee grounds, or stir using a spoon to mix quickly. This process should happen in 15 seconds. When timer reaches 30 seconds, slowly pour 150 grams hot water over coffee in a circular motion. At 1 minute and 30 seconds, slowly pour remaining hot water (about 160 grams) over coffee in a circular motion.

  5. Let coffee drain. Remove and discard filter. Enjoy, preferably black.


Find Yemeni coffee beans at Middle Eastern markets or online at

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