Monday, April 18, 2016

The Coffee King of Fez

In a tiny and extremely modest shop in the R'cif souk is a man whose spiced coffee mix is now drunk and appreciated around the world
Youssef Bouhlal - king of spiced coffee

If making a great cup of coffee is a barista's art, then Morocco is a land of artists. The coffee in many instances is Arabica grown in Côte d'Ivoire. But the best coffee in Morocco is more than simply a good bean well roasted. For the connoisseur there is spiced coffee. In the souks of Morocco are small stallholders making a living selling coffee and spices. For around forty dirhams (about $4.00) you can purchase a kilo of Arabica beans that are then ground with a mixture of up to nine spices. These include; nutmeg and black pepper corns.

While there are many places you can purchase spiced coffee, Youssef Bouhlal has become renowned for his nine spice coffee, with clients in America, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. His tiny shop is located in the R’cif souk in the Fez Medina. If you can’t make it all the way to Fez, you can experiment with your own blend at home. Youssef does not measure by instruments, but by intuition and we suggest you can do the same.

Youssef is shy about disclosing his entire mix, but we have deduced that a kilo of Arabica beans were ground with sesame seeds,  cloves, black pepper, whole nutmeg, cinnamon, cassia bark, anise seed, ginger powder ... and some things we couldn't recognise! And the cost? 42 dirhams (4.30 USD) per kilo.

As regular Fez visitor, Georgia Bartlett from London, told The View From Fez, "I fell in love with Yussef's coffee when I came to the Medina. Now I have given kilos to my parents in Hong Kong and my cousins in New Zealand. It is crazy, a kilo costs less than a coffee in London!"

Fez resident Sue Bail agrees,"Most people think that the artisan crafts are on;u ceramics, carving and so on, but I have been hooked on Youseff's coffee for the last four years and take it for friends and family in both Australia and Germany. Youseff is a coffee artisan of world class!"

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you give specific directions as to where he is - the souk is a great maze-?

Thank you