To.Mo.Ca Coffee is an Addis Ababa institution – the coffee shop has been around since 1953 and has survived much back and forth in Ethiopia’s economic development. The original To.Mo.Ca is located in Penyassa – a somewhat blue-collar neighborhood (but not an exceedingly dangerous one) in Addis.
My taxi driver had no trouble finding the place right away. The most popular coffee drinks in Ethiopia are the macchiatos and this is true here too. It’s much more like a Gibraltar or cortado in the US. It has milk and milk foam and a number of espresso shots (usually two). You can order a single or a double. A double costs 12 Birr – US$ 0.52! No typo here – just about 50 cents for a delicious coffee drink. Suggest that at your local coffee shop tomorrow.
You have to first pay at the bar, where can stock up on coffee beans as well for just $4 per pound – what a steal!
Once you’ve paid for your drink, you are given a token to give to the barista who will prepare your coffee with the help of two huge espresso makers. This place gets really busy and is tiny, so most people come in for a drink and then get going right away. Don’t expect a WiFi network here.
The drinks are of fantastic quality despite the low price. I said it before – I’m a picky coffee drinker and have been to a number of countries but I can’t think of a place that churns out such great coffee like in Ethiopia and To.Mo.Ca is the best in that list. Only a few places in San Francisco, including the best coffee shops like Four Barrel or Ritual Coffee, can compete with such quality.
To.Mo.Ca has another outlet inside the Radisson Hotel, which serves equally delicious coffee but it’s $2 for a macchiato there (still cheap!) It’s in a more comfortable setting and the WiFi code gives you access to very fast hotel internet (10Mbit) and a work area.
Next time I’ll stop over in Ethiopia just to stock up on coffee beans – the transit visa under 24 hours is free if you are connecting with Ethiopian Airlines.