Arwa Yemeni Brings a World Class Experience

Co-owner Faris Almatrahi (left) and co-founder Yazan Soofi hope that Arwa Yemeni reminds customers of the country’s history of coffee cultivation and trade. Photos by Vedant Sapra | Mercury Staff

Arwa Yemeni is a ten minute drive from campus that students won’t regret due to its cultural authenticity, tasteful coffee and aesthetic studying atmosphere.

Thinking of exploring the Middle East? Arwa’s Yemeni Coffee has got you covered with their world class ethnic Yemeni experience. At Arwa Yemeni, one can smell the ancient cities through the Aden, hear welcoming banter, experience the hospitality of middle eastern culture and see lights enveloped with madhallas — traditional female farmer hats. Most importantly, customers can taste the rich history of Yemen through their coffee beans, loose leaf tea and honey. Studying in the same spots can lead to dreadfully monotonous study sessions, so forget your Starbucks and immerse yourself in a new culture.

From the time and effort delicately placed into crafting the camel garnished cups to the specific measurements of the ingredients, Arwa makes sure that their specialty flavors are consistent.

“If you come Monday, it’s the same flavor as Thursday or two months down the line,” Faris Almatrahi — a co-owner of Arwa coffee — said.

Whether you’re a coffee or tea person, Arwa gives both drinks a Yemeni twist. They offer specialty teas and coffees that differ from your traditional caffeinated drinks due to their high quality coffee beans, notable for their unique sourcing, processing, roasting and brewing.

“Unfortunately, not many people are aware that coffee originated in Yemen,” Almatrahi said. “We were the first to cultivate coffee, and we controlled the industry for hundreds of years, and then lately in the last century or so, the coffee industry in Yemen started diminishing. So there’s been a revival of the Yemeni coffee industry.”

Arwa Coffee founds itself on that modern revival by sourcing, roasting and brewing Yemeni coffee and delivering it to Richardson. Known for being one of the most primal cultivators of coffee, Yemen has been credited for having the earliest credible evidence of humans interacting with the coffee plant. Its terraced mountains are plastered with small farms for the cultivation of these ancient and rich coffee beans, accounting for their exotic flavors.

“[It’s] like they left a little bit of Yemen,” co-founder Yazan Soofi said. “So every time from the experience they’ve received here, from our generosity and our hospitality, we want them to get a taste of our coffee and feel like they’ve left DFW and gone somewhere else.”

Not only does the coffee house serve amazing drinks, it also serves as an archive full of Yemeni memorabilia and relics paying homage to its cherished heritage and customs. With a full case of Yemeni informational books and specific ornaments of Yemeni culture sprinkled in every crevice of the cafe, Arwa’s coffee serves as a medium for becoming enlightened about its patron country. The baristas, coming from all parts of the world, also serve as passionate ambassadors for the cause, nurturing a sense of unity. The owners said that having a family-owned business in America gave them a sense of connection to Yemen, even if they couldn’t go back.

“When you go into something with the right intentions,” co-founder Susan Shihab said, “good comes of it, and people can feel it. People can feel that you’re doing this for the right reasons.”

Customers can feel this pure intention through the amazing hospitality and comfort provided. One feels reassured and secure in an environment where diversity is appreciated. If you are looking for a new place to study or hang out, make sure to check out Arwa Yemeni Coffee on Greenville Avenue.

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