By Brian Stone – Yemeni American News
DEARBORN, Mich. — Dearborn’s hottest new coffee house, Haraz Coffee, is making a name for itself as they serve up an inspired array of masterfully crafted Yemeni and European-style coffees.
Hamzah Nasser, the owner of Haraz, put his personal touch into every aspect of the business, which is named after the coffee-rich city in Yemen. As customers look across the business on 13810 Michigan Ave, they’ll see fine masonry work on the back wall that embraces the culture and heritage of Yemen, while trailing across the rest of the building are wood carvings that show the history of coffee in the world, and in the United States.
Nasser proudly pointed out that the first bits of coffee came to the United States on the Mayflower, and the heritage of coffee as a “patriotic drink” starting with the Boston Tea Party. All across the restaurant, you can read the history of coffee, while feeling the owner’s passion for the craft.
While the inspired interior design is an inviting draw for guests, the real celebrity is the coffee, which is directly sourced from Hamzah’s home in Yemen. YAN got to try four signature coffee dishes from Yemen, as well as a variety of European style drinks.
(From left to right: Haraz Coffee’s Hrazi Mofowar, Adeni Chai, Jubani Mix and Sanaan’i coffee. Photo by Brian Stone, YAN)
The Harazi Mofawar is a special brew of Harazi coffee brewed with cream. It has a smooth, velvety finish and the bare hint of spices like cardamom and cinnamon. The Adeni Chai is a delightful pot of tea with vaguely sweet notes, like the perfumed air that surrounds flowers at midnight in the arid plains.
For those looking for a pot of coffee that will cure the common cold, the Jubani Mix is right up their ally. Sharp, spicey, somewhat acidic – the coffee has a taste of cider. Their Sanaan’i is the opposite – a minimalist coffee with tiny hints of honey, bringing about the natural sweetness and richness of the Arabica bean it was brewed with.
For all of these, we recommend guests enjoy them as-is before trying to add anything – they truly are delightful on their own.
(The Haraz Latte is a unique experience with a blend of flavors that are truly one-of-a-kind. Photo by Brian Stone, YAN)
On the European style drinks, Haraz continues to delight. Their Curtado is what happens if Turkish coffee went for a midnight dance beneath the stars with a cappuccino. A unique experience worth having.
The Macchiato has all the boldness and tartness that a macchiato should, rising above the froth. Their cappuccino is surprisingly strong and smooth, and really benefits from the coffee sourced directly from Yemen, because the froth never overtakes the other flavors.
Their regular coffee roasts, both their dark and medium roast, have strong, smooth finishes. Theirs is one of the only coffee shops in Metro Detroit where I’d actually recommend the dark roast, because it hasn’t been blasted beyond recognition – here, you can tell the owner respects his coffee bean. This isn’t a hipster spot trying to sell you on some bespoke method of making coffee – here, Nasser lets the bean shine on its own.
Last, but certainly not least, is their signature latte, the Haraz Latte. I was nearly at a loss for words after tasting it. The Haraz Latte is what would happen if a cinnamon roll walked into the honeyed gates of heaven, found spiritual enlightenment and transformed itself into a latte. If anybody has a Haraz Latte and goes back to pumpkin spice, they probably need a good therapist, too.
The environment at Haraz is the final part of the experience that deserves its own mention. The coffee bar is tastefully decorated with a burnt wood finish, and the company logo emblazoned on the corners. The logo – which appears like a puff of steam or a candle flame – is another delightful note. If you squint your eyes, you can see it’s also arabic calligraphy saying “Haraz” – just one of many fine little details that make this business so special.
The light bulbs on the ceiling and the open, natural lighting all suggest a feeling of rustic brilliance. As the light fades outside and the lights turn on inside, the unique assortment of lighting fixtures feels as if someone took the stars out of the night sky and replaced them with little lanterns.
Haraz coffee is an experience, one well worth the try. The coffee is so good, and the experience so tasteful, it gives you hope for East Dearborn’s entire downtown area. Every nook and cranny of the business was thought out down to the finest detail.
If every new business in Dearborn were as thoughtfully crafted as this, we’d be kicking Royal Oak, Birmingham and Ann Arbor to the curb. Bravo, Haraz – bravo!