Warm new coffee shop with buzzy beans from Yemen opens in Richardson
A new coffee shop is bringing Yemeni-style hospitality to Richardson. Called Arwa Coffee, it's a hidden gem, tucked into a shopping center at 888 S. Greenville Ave. #223, that has become an instant favorite in the neighborhood and a destination both for coffee lovers and the greater Yemeni community.
The shop is a family venture from Yazan Soofi, a native of Yemen, along with his wife Susan, sister Nora, and brother-in-law Faris Almatrahi, who founded the shop to bring awareness to Yemen's beauty and culture.
That includes a library in the back with books on Yemeni culture, as well as a small market where they sell their own candles with what Soofi calls “typical scents of Yemen," plus totes, small handcrafted items, and high-valued Sidr honey, grown in Yemen, and untouched by chemicals, cultivation, or modern machinery.
"When we were looking for a location, we wanted to find a place near a college campus, and the University of Texas at Dallas is about four miles away," Soofi says. "We also wanted someplace with lots of parking, which is important in the Dallas-Fort Worth market."
They've infused the storefront with Arabic accents that include a natural golden color palette, Middle Eastern-style arches, farmer's hats hanging from the ceiling that serve as lighting fixtures, and a 25,000-piece mosaic mural portraying old Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.
The coffee comes from Yemen, as well, and they roast their beans in-house.
Yemen has a long history with coffee, dating back to its inception centuries ago, and is credited with being the first country to cultivate and harvest coffee beans. Their industry is still dominated by small family farms who grow beans without chemicals, and who dry the beans naturally, which allows natural flavors to infuse the beans and results in a richer-tasting coffee.
Yemeni coffee shops have begun to spring up in the U.S. in hipster locations like Brooklyn. It's only been recently that beans from Yemen could be procured.
While Arwa does serve typical cappuccinos and lattes, they also offer Yemeni-style drinks with spices such as cardamom, including:
- Jubani: Coffee and husks (cascara), cardamon, ginger, cinnamon
- Mofawar: Coffee, cardamon, fresh ginger, cinnamon, sugar, milk
- Adeni Tea: Premium black tea, milk, sugar, Arwa spice blend
- Yemeni Latte: Latte, cardamon syrup, honey, Arwa spice blend
- Sanaani Coffee: Medium and dark roast coffee, cardamon
To get a taste of each, you can order a sampler with four drinks for $15, or $20 with treats (available Monday-Thursday only, because it's too busy on weekends).
Food options consist of pastries from La Casita Bakeshop, as well as Yemeni items baked at a commercial kitchen, such as the honeycomb, their most popular item, consisting of a fluffy bread filled with cream cheese, and topped with cardamon syrup and sesame seeds. They also offer cheese breads and cakes.
The staff is diverse and comprised almost entirely of college students who train in Yemeni culture and drinks to ensure authenticity. The training also includes instilling an incredibly hospitable and accommodating level of service.
"We wanted to build a place that reminds us of home," Soofi says. “Yemeni people always give you hospitality, they'll give you everything they have. We want to do the same."