Yemen has played an important role in the history of coffee. Although Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee, it was from Yemen where coffee drinking was spread to the world. Between the 15th and the 18th century, coffee production and trading was monopolized around the port of Mocha, on the Red Sea coast of Yemen. The species Arabica owes its name to the passage of coffee culture by Arabia Felix, today Yemen. Also, the Mocha variety of the Coffea arabica was named after the once major port of Mocha.
Yemeni coffee is grown and produced under harsh conditions. Low average annual rainfall, poor irrigation, competition with qat, a plant with stimulant properties that provides better financial return than coffee, difficult transportation, and political instability have always shaped Yemeni coffee.