Discovering Mauritanias Coffee Culture A Guide for Expats

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As an expat living in Mauritania, you may be familiar with the local coffee scene. From traditional brews to specialty blends, Mauritania's coffee culture is unparalleled in its uniqueness and richness. Whether you're a long-time coffee enthusiast or a newcomer eager to explore, this guide is designed to help you navigate the diverse array of coffee traditions and customs that define Mauritania's coffee culture.

Coffee Origins and Production

Mauritania is not a major coffee producer, but coffee is still cultivated locally. Some of the key regions renowned for coffee cultivation include Nouakchott, the country's capital, and the Sahel region to the north. These areas are known for their dry climate, which is ideal for coffee plantations. When it comes to coffee production, locally grown beans are often preferred due to their unique flavor profiles.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Mauritania's coffee culture is diverse, with a wide variety of unique coffee style drinks to discover and savor. One of the most popular is the "Bonbonége," a traditional coffee brewed with ginger and cinnamon. This sweet and spicy flavor profile is a favorite among expats, who find it a refreshing break from their usual coffee routine.

Specialty Blends

Another must-try coffee style in Mauritania is the "Djeij," a traditional coffee brewed with cardamom seeds. This flavorful and fragrant brew is both aromatic and invigorating, making it a popular choice among coffee connoisseurs.

Popular Coffee Beverages

But Mauritania's coffee scene doesn't stop at traditional brews. Modern coffee shops can be found throughout the country, offering a range of popular coffee beverages such as lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos. These cafes often feature modern decor and ambiance, providing a welcome escape from the bustling city streets.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee is deeply entrenched in Mauritania's culture, and its role in daily life and social interactions is clear. Coffee is often served in traditional gathering places, such as the "Hammam," a traditional public bathhouse. These social spaces offer a chance to connect with locals and immerse oneself in Mauritania's unique cultural experience.

Coffee Customs and Etiquette

Another key aspect of Mauritania's coffee culture is the emphasis on traditional customs and etiquette. For example, it's customary to drink coffee with the right hand, as the left hand is considered impure. Additionally, drinking coffee while standing is a common tradition, as it allows guests to savor the aroma and flavor of the coffee in its purest form.

Expat-Friendly Coffee Shops and Cultural Experiences

For expats eager to explore Mauritania's coffee culture, there are several options that cater to diverse tastes and preferences. Nouakchott, the country's capital, is a great place to start, with a range of coffee shops and cultural experiences to discover. Some must-visit coffee shops include "Coffee Island," a modern and trendy cafe in the heart of the city, and "Caffeine l'Oasis," which offers a unique blend of traditional and modern coffee styles.

Cultural Experiences

In addition to coffee shops, there are several cultural experiences that provide a chance to connect with Mauritania's unique coffee culture. For example, visiting a local coffee plantation allows expats to learn more about the coffee production process, as well as the unique flavor profiles of Mauritania's locally grown coffee beans. Additionally, joining a traditional coffee ceremony allows expats to immerse themselves in Mauritania's coffee customs and traditions, providing a chance to connect with the local community and gain a deeper appreciation for Mauritania's coffee scene.


In conclusion, Mauritania's coffee culture offers a unique and vibrant experience for expats looking to immerse themselves in the local community. From traditional brews to modern coffee shops, coffee is a central aspect of Mauritania's culture, providing a chance to connect with the locals, learn about the country's history, and gain a deeper appreciation for this unique cultural experience.

Tips for Navigating Local Cafes and Coffee Shops

To fully enjoy Mauritania's coffee culture, expats should keep a few tips in mind when navigating local cafes and coffee shops:

  • Always offer your host a cup of coffee as a sign of respect and hospitality.
  • Learn the traditional coffee customs and etiquette, such as drinking with the right hand and standing while drinking.
  • Be open to trying new coffee styles and flavors, as Mauritania's coffee scene offers a wide variety of unique brews to discover.
  • Respect the country's cultural norms and customs, and be prepared to adapt to local traditions.

By following these tips, expats can fully immerse themselves in Mauritania's coffee culture, gaining a deeper appreciation for this unique cultural experience. As they say in Mauritania, "Maa salaam," which roughly translates to "Welcome coffee," may your coffee journey in Mauritania be filled with warmth, hospitality, and a deeper appreciation for this rich and vibrant cultural heritage.