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Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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First Yemeni Coffee Shop Opens in the Greater Lansing Area

Ahmed Sufyan, a local plastic surgeon, dedicates his weekends to commuting to the Greater Detroit Area solely for a cup of Yemeni coffee.

 

“The flavor of it is very smooth, it’s refreshing,” he said, describing the distinct flavor and aroma that arise in traditional coffee. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think a taste is worth a million words.”

 

To spare himself from the lengthy drives after a demanding week of work, Sufyan is opening his very own Yemeni coffee shop in East Lansing, called Moka & Co.

 

“I’m the only facial plastic surgeon in the greater Lansing area,” Sufyan said. “It’s a busy practice. So, at the end of the day, we’ll come here and we’ll get a cup of coffee.”

 

Moka & Co. is set to open on Grand River Ave in downtown East Lansing, across the street from the Broad Art Museum. Their goal is to launch on Friday, Dec. 8.

 

“Our hope is that everybody is able to try this coffee,” he said. “I think for many people, it will be their first opportunity to really enjoy these different flavors.”

 

Ahmed is the owner of Moka & Co., but his younger brother, Sal Sufyan, is the manager and will be overseeing its day-to-day operations.

 

“I have a full, extremely busy practice,” he said. “My role will be enjoying coffee like everybody else.”

 

They chose the name Moka & Co. as a homage to the city of Mokha in Yemen, a major cultivator of coffee.

 

Yemeni Coffee Experience

Their coffee stands out for its uniqueness, as they not only utilize the entirety of the bean, including the shells, but some blends also incorporate a variety of spices such as ginger, cinnamon and cardamom.

 

“It’s not all Yemen-based,” he said. “There’ll be other coffees and blends. For example, Turkish coffee… It will be a range of Middle Eastern coffees, but primarily the star of the show is the Yemeni coffee bean.”

 

Beyond bringing the distinctive flavors of the Arabica bean to the greater Lansing area, what holds the most importance for him is the support they provide to the farmers in Yemen who cultivate the coffee beans.

 

“Overall, it makes you feel good when you’re buying coffee that goes a long way in helping an impoverished community,” he said.

 

Recognizing that many people may be unfamiliar with these flavors, they plan to offer pots that can be shared among groups for a social experience of tasting different coffees.

 

“I think when we first start, we’ll be doing individual cups but, eventually, that’s the way I like enjoying it,” he said.

 

More than Coffee

Moka & Co. will offer a diverse selection of coffee blends, distinguished teas and freshly made seasonal pastries.

 

The coffee shop has high ceilings, ample natural light, a dedicated space for private events and murals from floor to ceiling with traditional art which reflects the farms in Yemen.

 

“We told [the artist] we want people to feel like they’re in the coffee fields and they can see the way the cultivated coffee looks like,” he said.

 

Moka & Co. is the first Yemeni coffee shop in the area. However, Sufyan envisions further expansion, with plans to open a location in Okemos within the next couple of months.

 

“These will be the first two locations and hopefully, it will become a staple of the Greater Lansing area,” he said.

 

As they embark on the opening process, they are actively hiring individuals who are passionate about coffee and can contribute to fostering a friendly atmosphere.



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About the Contributor
Tessa Kresch
Tessa Kresch, Senior News Producer/Co-Host of Exposure
Tessa (she/her) is a senior pursuing a double major in Acting and Broadcast Journalism. She is the senior news producer & host of Exposure for Impact 89FM & has worked as a production assistant for the radio show, Stateside on Michigan Radio. When she's not at the station interviewing someone or mixing up some audio, you'll probably find her memorizing a script, performing on a stage somewhere, making some music, crocheting up a storm or watching hours worth of cat content.

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