Mudita Cafe and Coffeehouse is still a relative newcomer to Ocean View and the Norfolk coffee landscape. This summer, they opened their doors with a freshly renovated space and a coffee menu that could satisfy the whole spectrum of java drinkers.
With such high marks in their first few weeks of being open, the first of their seasonal menu rotations has caught our attention. As Madison and Kate were engrossing themselves in coffee traditions from around the globe, they found that African coffee and styles were particularly well-suited for the autumn weather. Traditions from across the continent emphasize heavy use of pepper, clove, cinnamon, and other spices. Those styles of coffee were new and intriguing, while some of the flavors reminded them of fall.
The Cafe Touba has its roots in Senegal, where it’s a favorite to locals year-round. The standout ingredient is djar, a spicy black peppercorn roasted alongside the beans. The Mudita team is highlighting djar flavors in a spiced latte infused with black peppercorns and cloves. The flavors come through brightly in this latte and represent a welcome change from the uber-sweet lattes around town.
From Mazagran, Algeria, there’s a take on the ‘Orginal Iced Coffee.’ Known just as The Mazagran, it brings the ever-popular drink up ten notches with relatively simple ingredients. You’ll catch the Mudita baristas squeezing fresh lemon juice and pouring house-made mint syrup to get the formula just right.
The star of the lineup, though, is the Moroccan spiced coffee. Moroccan cafe culture is known worldwide, so it makes sense that Mudita’s favorite coffee would be exceptionally famous. In Morocco, you’ll find this coffee roasted alongside various spices and then ground altogether. Mudita Cafe has recreated a spice blend reminiscent of traditional Moroccan- style and infused it into the coffee during the brewing process. Served with just a touch of sweetness, this one lands just right. It threads the needle between feeling clearly explorational and thoroughly familiar. Your tongue might have a hard time telling if you’re in Tangier or getting ready for a Thanksgiving meal.
If you’re not a coffee drinker, there’s a new tea offering this fall as well. The Maghrebi mint tea takes its name from the Maghreb region of Northern Africa. Interestingly this is traditionally made with Chinese ‘gunpowder green tea’ and fresh spearmint. Mudita Cafe honors tradition by serving this in a large shared pot and using legit Chinese gunpowder green tea.
Any one of these would be an exciting addition to a burgeoning menu, but lining up all of these together is serious stuff. Kudos to them for branching out and trying out something new.