Delah Coffee: Exploring What Makes This Yemeni-Style Coffee Unique

August 22, 2023
Delah Coffee

Tucked away on 4th St in San Francisco, California, you’ll find a unique coffee shop called Delah Coffee bringing the rich tastes of traditional Yemeni coffee to the Bay Area. Known for its authentic imported beans roasted with spices, Delah serves coffee that stands out from your typical latte or americano.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what distinguishes Delah coffee and how it compares to other coffee styles you may be more familiar with.

Overview of Delah Coffee House

Delah Coffee first opened its doors on 4th St San Francisco in 2016, founded by Yemeni-American owner Majed to share his love for the coffee culture of his homeland.

This cozy coffee house on 4th St in the SoMa district has become known for its imported Yemeni coffee beans, traditional roasting, and custom spice blends. In addition to coffee, they serve Yemeni tea and snacks like malawach flatbread and mandi rice dishes.

The atmosphere at Delah is warm and welcoming, with comfortable outdoor seats perfect for sipping coffee. Inside, you’ll find traditionally dressed staff serving Yemeni coffee the customary way. It provides a unique experience unlike most Bay Area coffee shops.

“We want to share our passion for Yemeni coffee with San Francisco,” explained owner Majed. “From roasting to brewing, every step enhances the flavors.”

How Delah Coffee is Roasted


One signature of Delah coffees San Francisco is that they freshly roast coffee beans on-site in small batches throughout the day. This ensures every cup served is extremely fresh.

They source authentic coffee beans like Arabian from Yemen and Ethiopian harrar. The beans are roasted in a drum roaster, with some beans roasted with cardamom, ginger and cinnamon for a uniquely spiced flavor profile.

This small-batch roasted coffee has a rich, complex taste compared to large-scale commercial roasting that can produce a more generic flavor.

“Roasting daily in our cafe makes all the difference in quality,” said Majed. “You’ll taste the nuanced flavors from our custom roasting methods.”

Brewing Technique for Full Flavor

In addition to roasting, Delah uses a traditional Yemeni technique for brewing the coffee to perfection. The process unlocks the beans’ full flavor potential.

First, the roasted coffee is ground finely using a mortar and pestle. The grounds are then brewed in a special jezve pot on the stovetop, similar to Turkish coffee.

The pot is brought to a boil then removed from heat as it froths. This allows the flavors to fully extract for a robust, aromatic brew. Spices like saffron and cloves can be added during brewing as well.

The result is a strong, rich Yemeni-style coffee quite different from drip, pour over or espresso drinks. It’s meant to be slowly enjoyed and savored.

“Brewing on the stovetop and timing when to remove it brings out tastes that typical coffee makers cannot,” Majed explained.

Common Coffee Orders at Delah

The personalized service at Delah allows customers to customize their coffee experience. Here are some popular orders:

  • Yemeni Coffee – Their signature spiced coffee brewed the traditional way. Offered in single and double shots.
  • Arabian Coffee – Smooth coffee made with beans sourced right from Yemen.
  • Avocado Coffee – Yemeni coffee topped with seasoned avocado for a creamy, nutty flavor.
  • Harra Spice Coffee – Beans spiced with cumin, caraway and cardamom for an earthy taste.
  • Frozen Coffee – Sweet and icy blend of Yemeni coffee, milk and ice for a cool treat.

In addition, you can request different spice additions like saffron or ginger when you order. The baristas can brew coffee to your personal tastes.

Pairing Food Items with Coffee

To complement the Yemeni coffees, Delah serves traditional baked goods and dishes:

  • Malawach – Flaky flatbread perfect with morning coffee.
  • Mandi Rice – Herb roasted chicken or lamb served over basmati rice.
  • Lentil Soup – Hearty, spiced Yemeni-style soup.
  • Bee bite Cookies – Butter cookies made with local honey.
  • Bagila Chips – Chickpea flour chips offered with coffee or tea.

The robust spices and flavors of Yemeni cuisine pair excellently with the rich coffees. Food and drink combine for an immersive cultural experience.

“Yemeni coffee has been brought together with meals for generations,” said Majed. “Our food and drinks complement one another.”

The Takeaway on Delah Coffee

Delah Coffee provides an authentic taste of Yemen’s distinctive coffee traditions rarely found in the US. From imported beans to spiced roasting to stovetop brewing, they stay true to preparing coffee the Yemeni way.

Beyond upholding tradition, Delah also innovates with unique offerings like Avocado Coffee and Frozen Coffee. Their cozy cafe on 4th St transports you to the Middle East through decor, music, dress and of course, coffee culture.

So if you’re seeking a new coffee experience beyond your usual latte, head to Delah Coffee House. You may just find a new favorite cup of coffee.

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