Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Visiting the Maitre du Moka

Bacha Coffee House — Celebrating the tradition of coffee at the Maître du Moka

Who does­n’t love the smell of fresh cof­fee in the air! 

Mar­rakech offers a unique expe­ri­ence in a class of its own. Exact­ly two min­utes’ walk sep­a­rate you from this unfor­get­table expe­ri­ence when you stay at Riad Selouane.

But from the beginning 

The morn­ing awak­ens with the Riad Selouane’s own inti­mate tran­quil­i­ty. Only the large date palm in the court­yard occa­sion­al­ly attracts a bird with its melod­ic song. 

Even the call of the muezzin echoes in the Riad like the faint mem­o­ry of a world long gone. Our world with its hec­tic pace, the thoughts of it and even the oth­er­wise con­stant time fade in this micro­cosm. The ris­ing sun inten­si­fies the scent of the orange trees. 

Noth­ing speaks for leav­ing this gem. 

And yet there are good rea­sons to explore this incom­pa­ra­ble city every day anew: Mar­rakech! A dream from times long past! Long­ing and ful­fill­ment at the same time.

A highlight of any visit to Marrakech

Today we take you to the Maître du Moka, the Bacha Cof­fee House, an absolute must-see in Marrakech.

It is almost lunchtime. The sun is high in the sky. The peaks of the snow-cov­ered Atlas, which seemed so close in the morn­ing, are bare­ly vis­i­ble on the hori­zon in the flick­er of heat from the rooftop ter­race. This is the moment when Nouri, the man­ag­er of the house, kind­ly approach­es us with a reminder of the reser­va­tion at Bacha Cof­fee House. 

We leave the silence and pleas­ant cool­ness of the Riad. With a sound of heav­i­ness and secu­ri­ty, the old wood­en door clos­es behind us. 

The alley Derb Tizougarine, with its play of shad­ows and nat­ur­al reds, wel­comes us with a melange of smells of spicy lunch­es and snatch­es of con­ver­sa­tion in Arabic. 

After only 50 meters, the smell of fresh bread dom­i­nates the alley. Right at the begin­ning of the alley, direct­ly oppo­site the small mosque, com­plete­ly incon­spic­u­ous to strangers, is one of the best bak­ers in town. Until after mid­night, sev­en days a week, he sells fresh flat­bread always warm from the oven — a true rev­e­la­tion for the hungry. 

Our sens­es have bare­ly processed the smell of fresh bread as we find our­selves in the midst of the hus­tle and bus­tle of the mer­chants. Friend­ly greet­ings, jokes and laugh­ter are exchanged in all languages.

Between the mer­chants, there are restau­rants, gal­leries and a ham­mam wait­ing for guests. Above every­thing tow­er the heavy walls of the roy­al palace Dar el Bacha. The king’s guests reside here, and he him­self owns sev­er­al oth­er palaces in the city. 

The entrance is hidden in the Musée des Confluences

After only a few steps we are just before the cross­roads, where the city is pul­sat­ing with the sound of mope­ds, cabs, car­riages and many inter­na­tion­al voices.

We look for the incon­spic­u­ous sign Bacha Cof­fee House — Maître du Moka — Cof­fee Mas­ters, as we have reserved a table there for an unfor­get­table mid­day coffee. 

The entrance to the café is also the entrance to the Musée des Con­flu­ences, which helps us find it.

Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Besuch beim Maitre du Moka
This sign points the way to Bacha Cof­fee House

The recep­tion is friend­ly and as if to test the seri­ous­ness of the vis­i­tors as well as their will to taste the best cof­fee in town, we are asked for a small entrance fee. A fee that seals the pas­sage into anoth­er world. After only a few meters, the sounds of the city out­side fade away.

Magnificent Moroccan tiles

Our path leads along thick walls, dec­o­rat­ed with geo­met­ric pat­terns of count­less col­ored tiles, past mas­sive­ly tow­er­ing high columns that sup­port the wood­en, rich­ly dec­o­rat­ed ceil­ing beams, along fine­ly chis­eled stuc­co work. The eye vir­tu­al­ly bathes in this exu­ber­ant opulence. 

After an alter­na­tion of cor­ri­dors and rooms, the view opens onto a large court­yard. Orange trees grow in geo­met­ric flowerbeds, bor­dered by a check of black and white mar­ble, and pro­vide cool shade. The splen­dor of ori­en­tal pat­terns is everywhere. 

Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Besuch beim Maitre du Moka
The Court­yard in Dar el Bacha Palace

Bacha Coffee Boutique

At the end of the court­yard we see a store: the Bacha Cof­fee Boutique. 

On the black and white mar­ble floor, in an ornate inven­to­ry of trop­i­cal wood, are dis­played more than a hun­dred cof­fee cans that look almost the same. Only the names on them indi­cate the dif­fer­ent contents. 

The scent of cof­fee is in the air. No, it’s more than that. The scent of the best cof­fees from around the world is in the air.

Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Besuch beim Maitre du Moka
The tor­ment of choice: over 200 dif­fer­ent coffees

Bacha Coffee House

Right next door there is the recep­tion area of Bacha Cof­fee House. It’s a slim, high-ceilinged room with a sleek recep­tion counter. The wall­pa­per motifs boast trop­i­cal flo­ra and exot­ic birds. Promis­ing­ly embla­zoned large over every­thing is the word Café.

Once again our reser­va­tion is checked and with dis­creet hand sig­nals to the team the ser­vice for our expe­ri­ence of cof­fee enjoy­ment is arranged. An atten­tive wait­er leads us to one of the few tables in the main room. The ambi­ence of the Bacha Cof­fee House flows upon us as a beguil­ing mix of colo­nial ele­ments and the dream of the Ara­bi­an Nights.

Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Besuch beim Maitre du Moka
Bacha Cof­fee House in Mar­rakech: Vis­it­ing the Maître du Moka

Oppo­site the entrance, along the wall, a huge, elab­o­rate­ly dec­o­rat­ed bar made of heavy wood man­i­fests the claim to the title: Maître du Moka. Cof­fee is cel­e­brat­ed here! 

Behind it, in a niche in the wall, eighty-eight iden­ti­cal cof­fee cans are lined up in pre­cise sym­me­try. Each of them claims to con­tain the best cof­fee. Orange with gold let­ter­ing, the cans gleam with promis­ing delight from the oth­er­wise dove-blue wall. 

Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Besuch beim Maitre du Moka

A trim of mint-green wood sug­gests one might catch a glimpse of the palace gar­den beyond. 

Above it all, a glass roof rests on fil­i­gree steel gird­ers. Adja­cent to the light-filled main room are three oth­er small rooms, each with a dif­fer­ent pleas­ant design of its own. Palm trees sep­a­rate the tables, con­vey­ing an inti­ma­cy of indul­gence and sweet temptation. 

The wait­ers are pas­sion­ate and do cred­it to the Maître du Moka. Wear­ing black pants and tie, white shirt and jack­et, they exude a con­fi­dent aplomb. The crim­son cap on their heads makes them some­thing unique. 

The non­cha­lance of the ser­vice, the under­stat­ed, yet so con­fi­dent demeanor imme­di­ate­ly makes any guest feel they are in pro­fes­sion­al and car­ing hands here. 

Bacha Coffee House is looking back on a long history

Found­ed in 1910 in the then new­ly built Dar El Bacha Palace, it was con­sid­ered the supreme author­i­ty for cof­fee enjoy­ment in Marrakech. 

It was here that the cov­et­ed Cof­fee of Ara­bia was served, which we know today as Ara­bi­ca.

Even then, the world was guest in Mar­rakech and among the most famous vis­i­tors were Char­lie Chap­lin, Josephine Bak­er, Mau­rice Rav­el, Franklin Roo­sevelt and Win­ston Churchill.

Bacha Coffee House — Celebrating the tradition of coffee at the Maître du Moka. Simply the best coffee in Marrakech.

After World War II, the Cof­fee House and Palace were closed and fell into a slum­ber of over 60 years.

In 2017, the palace reopened as Musée des Con­flu­ences after two years of ren­o­va­tions. Since then, the Bacha Cof­fee House has once again wel­comed guests from all over the world.

This long peri­od of obliv­ion is also the rea­son why it has been pos­si­ble to pre­serve its own incom­pa­ra­ble style. The crock­ery, cut­lery, ambi­ence and ser­vice give an idea of the high stan­dards that are set for the enjoy­ment of coffee. 

The ritual of drinking coffee

But back to the cof­fee. The help of the wait­ers is urgent­ly need­ed in view of the man­i­fold choic­es! Each guest is hand­ed two menu cards. The first, in the same orange as the cof­fee cans, opens up a view of cof­fees from all over the world. Once you start read­ing the vari­eties and fla­vors, you soon get lost between dark choco­late, almond, orange, hazel­nut, licorice or berg­amot notes.

The cof­fee menu is a revelation! 

There are well over 150 dif­fer­ent cof­fees — each with its own promise of fla­vor and sensuality. 

In the end, the dif­fi­cul­ty is to decide which cof­fee to choose.

Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Besuch beim Maitre du Moka

But no mat­ter what choice you make, the wait­er will make your cho­sen cof­fee a won­der­ful­ly com­plete experience. 

Option­al­ly, you can order a culi­nary accom­pa­ni­ment to the cof­fee from the sec­ond menu. Spe­cial atten­tion should always be paid to the in-house pas­try shop. Every­thing is to be rec­om­mend­ed. But it is even bet­ter to ask the wait­er for a rec­om­men­da­tion for the select­ed cof­fee — you will not regret it!

The prepa­ra­tion of the cof­fee is its own cer­e­mo­ny, so it is worth sit­ting near the bar and watch­ing the rou­tine craft. Each order is pre­pared fresh with great care and then served pronto.

Dar el Bacha Coffee House in Marrakech: Besuch beim Maitre du Moka

The cof­fee is served in tall, sleek, gild­ed pots. No, it is cel­e­brat­ed in these pots. With grace­ful ele­gance, the wait­ers pour the steam­ing hot cof­fee from the long thin spout into the thin-walled porce­lain cups. 

In an instant, the air is filled with the aro­mas of the cof­fee in ques­tion. The rit­u­al of pour­ing height­ens the sens­es so that the aro­mas are per­ceived much more intensely. 

And while the cof­fee in the cups exudes its aro­ma, the wait­ers give hints on how the true con­nois­seur may fur­ther refine this cer­e­mo­ny. There is a rec­om­men­da­tion for each select­ed cof­fee vari­ety, how and espe­cial­ly which sug­ar enhances the aroma. 

The same applies to the whipped cream pro­vid­ed. Some­times the cof­fee still needs the har­mo­nious round­ing off by fresh­ly ground vanilla. 

And then you are dis­creet­ly left alone with this seduc­tive­ly fra­grant cof­fee ensemble.

At this point, only this much can be revealed: the first sip opens a door, the sec­ond opens up anoth­er world, and the third sip is addic­tive. Addict­ed to anoth­er cof­fee, anoth­er visit. 

For­tu­nate­ly, there is a sec­ond cup of cof­fee in every pot.…

Even if you didn’t like coffee before — give the Maître du Moka a chance to indulge you. 

You will remember this visit for a lifetime. 

Bacha Coffee House

in the Musée des Con­flu­ences in the Dar el Bacha Palace
Route Sidi, Abde­laz­iz Mar­rakech 40000, Moroc­co
(+212) 5 24 38 12 93
Open­ing hours 10:00 — 18:00
Closed on Mon­day

The café offers over 200 cof­fees, deli­cious cakes and a light lunch menu with very tasty dishes.

In the bou­tique you can buy over 200 Ara­bi­ca cof­fees from over 33 countries.

To vis­it the café, there is a small admis­sion fee of about 1€, which goes towards main­tain­ing the museum.

Reser­va­tions are rec­om­mend­ed as the café is quite small and always busy. Your hotel will be hap­py to help you with this.

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