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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Circle, the true story of a young Yemeni-American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana'a by civil war, and his riveting tale of escape.

Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings raised by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age 24, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman. Until: a statue of an Arab raising a cup of coffee awakens something in him. He sets out to learn the rich history of coffee in Yemen and the complex art of tasting and identifying varietals. He travels to Yemen, collects samples of beans, eager to bring improved cultivation methods to the farmers. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015 and he is trapped in Sana'a.

Desperate to escape, he embarks on a passage that has him twice kidnapped at gunpoint, dodging US-made bombs dropped by the Saudi air force, and crossing the Red Sea onboard an unsafe skiff, all the while carrying two suitcases of coffee. A heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the ongoing Yemeni civil war, and the courageous journey of a young man - a Muslim and a US citizen - following the most American of dreams.

©2018 Dave Eggers (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Dion Graham narrates this stirring audiobook splendidly. His narration shapes the mind and spirit of Mokhtar Alkhanshali.... Listeners will be rapt." (AudioFile)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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MOVING THE NEEDLE

I’m a white guy. For that I am awarded privilege . I know the score. I see it all around me. I’ve worked my ass off to have a comfortable life . Wife, kids, house etc.

The immigration issue confuses me. The never ending violence in the Middle East confuses me. I just couldn’t get my head wrapped around it.

This book changed me. It showed me what I thought was American ingenuity and taught me tenacity and grit are universal.

I will never look at a Middle Eastern person the same and am embarrassed that I let my myopic personal narrative carry on for so many years.

Thank you Dave Eggars and thank you Mohktar for giving me the gift of clear vision.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Hell of an adventure! Great narration!

Monk of Mocha is a wonderful adventure. We follow Mokhtar’s story, from delinquent teenager to Indiana Jones adventurer, bringing the treasure of long lost Yemeni coffee to the world. Egger’s style eggs you onward (see what I did there:)). Graham voice is powerful, clear, and compelling. Loved it!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Terrific Story

Loved this book! I cannot believe it is nonfiction! Compelling story! I GOT to try the coffee now!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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in awe

this was fantastic. I was pulled into the story and emotionly invested in the characters success.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Coffee

Fantastic book. Now I’m looking for the beans. Not easy to find so far. Can’t wait to try it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing story

The story by itself would be a winner. It keeps you hooked the whole time, but combined with a superb performance by Dion Graham this book can’t help but be an all around fantastic listen no matter if you love coffee or not.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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History! Intrigue! Humanity!

I LOVED this book. I’m finicky about the way books are read & the vocals breathe even more life into this already captivating storyline.

Getting a behind the scenes look at Mohktar’s journey, Yemeni coffee & culture, this book is amazing. Even if you’re not passionate about coffee, if you love hearing a story rich in humanity this book is for you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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What an amazing story.

The ending brought tears to my eyes. Dion Graham's reading gave life and authentic accent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful book

A great journey through a misunderstood land, a story of unbelievable entrepreneurship and reveals a history of coffee that was unknown to me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Exciting book about one of my favorite beverages

This book captured me right from the start. I had not heard of it before but took a chance on it because I've read something else by the author. Mokhtar, a young Yemeni American who grew up in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, was used to cutting corners and getting in trouble as a student. He wanted to go to college, but when he was finally ready, he was robbed of a $3000 charitable donation he needed to deliver, a brand new laptop bought with borrowed funds, and an elegant briefcase. He then had no way to enroll in classes and no money to obtain what he needed to continue. Mokhtar returned to the work availble to him and became a doorman at a high price apartment complex.

While employed there, a friend asked him if he'd ever noticed the statue across the street. When he finally looked out he saw a statue of what had to be a Yemeni man in a long robe holding up a coffee cup. This led him to begin research to learn what the statue was all about. Upon learning that the building where the statue was located was the old Hills Brothers company, he wondered why the statue was of a person from Yemen. After digging he determined coffee's early connection with Yemen and an idea grew within. He would resurrect the Yemen coffee industry providing the farmers and other workers with fair pay, and introduce the world to the best coffee they would ever taste.

This book follows Mokhtar's dream through struggles to learn about coffee from a beginner's view, through financial difficulties, and through war and threats on his life. I enjoyed it very much and found myself craving coffee as I listened.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Megan Chouane
  • 06-15-18

A captivating story, well told.

Lovely story, kept my attention with a perfect blend of humor, human interest, politics and drama!