In a coffee shop on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Ibrahim Alhasbani grabs a 70 pound bag of coffee beans, sourced from Yemen, where his family has owned a coffee bean farm for generations. Alhasbani is bringing his family's long tradition of coffee making to New York City.
"I feel so proud to continue to do what my grandfather do and what my father do,” Alhasbani told NY1. “And build this communication between us and other countries. And tell people more about Yemen and more about our coffee."
Alhasbani is now the eighth generation of his family to continue in the business.
The store's walls are decorated with images explaining the centuries-old origins of Yemeni coffee, which is exported around the world from the port of Mokha. It's paired with photos that help tell the Alhasbani family story, too.
The pictures show the process of how the beans are grown and hand-picked from high up in the mountains.
“There are actually some places in our village in Yemen the car cannot get there because they're huge mountains. So cars cannot get there, there's no road for the cars. So they still use the donkey," Alhasbani explained.
Alhasbani came to the U.S in 2011, first to New York and then to Michigan where two years ago he opened his first coffee shop in America.
"For a long time, I want to do something with Yemeni coffee outside of Yemen,” said Alhasbani. “I want to tell the other culture about Yemeni coffee and how it's so good."
Now he's getting ready to cut the ribbon on his first New York location, which has the same name: Quhwah House.
"Quhwah means coffee in Arabic,” explained Alhasbani.
It is filled with cultural items to welcome and inform his customers. Because he's opening in the middle of the pandemic, he's building an outdoor seating area. He's counting on a diverse customer base.
"I came to New York City because I feel it's my hometown too,” added Alhasbani.
He says coffee transcends all cultures. The grand opening of the Qahwah House is Sunday at noon.