Mohka House: New Yemeni coffee shop spices up the Dimond District

The decor of Mohka House makes one feel like they are in the Middle East, not on MacArthur Blvd in East Oakland.

Wake up or wind down with hot, spiced beverages and sweet or savory treats at a new comfy coffee shop in the Town. Mohka House opened on July 16 in the heart of Oakland’s Dimond business district. 

Named after the port city of Mohka on the Red Sea, Mohka House serves Yemeni coffee and Middle Eastern pastries.

Drinks such as Sana’ani, Mofawar, and Jubani are named after provinces in Yemen. Beverages are thoughtfully crafted with spices from the region. For example, Sana’ani is a medium roast with cardamom. Mofawar has cardamom and cream. Jubani includes coffee husk, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. There are also non-caffeinated beverage options like Qishr, made from the coffee husk. Sweet treats such as baklava and basboussa will be available along with a few savory options. It will also offer traditional western coffee beverages and sweets, such as lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and pastries like croissants and eclairs.

The owner, Hamza Boobakr, is proud to feature what he calls “a treasure,” from his country of origin: quality coffee. Though born in Yemen, he grew up in the U.S. and has called Oakland home for nearly 20 years. He is raising a family here. Boobakr is in business with his brother. When it comes to the product they will serve, “The coffee will speak for itself,” he said.

Yemen is a mountainous country with ideal topography and geography for growing coffee beans. The name “coffee arabica” comes from the area. The port of Mohka was its main point of export. Unfortunately, the country has seen turmoil that has impacted its importing and exporting of goods, up until recently. The beans featured at Mohka House are grown in the Hamaz region of Yemen, an area known to be ideal for growing premium coffee due to its coordinates, climate, and elevation. 

The owner and his brother are pleased to bring its taste to Oakland’s Dimond District. 

Mural depicting the Port of Mohka in Yemen.

They are not only bringing flavor to the neighborhood, but flare too. The ornately painted exterior of the building has patterns in tints and tones of brown. While located on MacArthur Blvd, the decor evokes a Middle Eastern theme. The wall directly across from the entrance is covered in a picture of the capital city of Sana’a. Brown, orange, maroon, and white embroidered cushions on leather couches surround ornately carved small round coffee tables. Warm light bulbs hang low above. A hand painted mural in burnt sienna on a manila background, off to the right, depicts the port of Mohka. Local artist Robin Gibson painted the mural. 

The rest of the decor is also a beautiful nod to Yemen. A carved arch above the entrance to the restroom area is accented with large palm trees common in Yemen according to the then-manager, Amaal Shefedin. The menu is assembled on live edge wood slabs printed in arabic font. 

Besides the impressive ambiance, there are state of the art espresso makers and other coffee vessels. Seating options besides couches include long tables and bar stools with tables built around support pillars. Painted to match the façade, outside is a parklet offering an outdoor space to gather in fresh air. 

Experience Mohka House, at 2139 MacArthur Blvd, near the intersection of Fruitvale Ave. Mohka House is now open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Signage of Mohka House before its soft launch in summer 2023.
Author Profile

Tanna Samone was born in “The City” and raised in “The Town.” She has gratefully served both San Francisco and Oakland in Emergency Medical Services and Education. Community journalism is community service. Oakland Voices is an opportunity for her to serve information for and from its residents, her neighbors.

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