Haraz Coffee House’s rapid growth reaches East Lansing


Troy resident Dina Elhout wasn’t always a coffee drinker, but something about the offerings at Haraz Coffee House, a Dearborn-based Yemeni coffee chain, piqued her interest.

At first, she only stopped in to grab coffee for her husband.

“After picking up his drinks several times, I decided I was going to try it myself. When I did, there was no looking back,” she said.

Elhout, a dentist, would joke that she was going to own her own Haraz location someday. Her jests turned to action after she met with Haraz’s founder and CEO, Hamzah Nasser, who opened the first location in Dearborn in 2021.

“It was supposed to be his only shop, but based on feedback he’s gotten from some customers trying to help, including myself, it’s now grown into a nationwide franchise,” Elhout said.

The business has expanded to two other locations in Michigan, Detroit and Warren, as well as Texas, California, Illinois, Kentucky and North Carolina, with more slated to open soon across the country.

Nasser told Elhout he was also looking to open locations in college towns in Michigan and that East Lansing seemed like a perfect market.

Elhout decided to go for it. She began scouting potential locations last fall and settled on a 2,400-square-foot space at 501 E. Grand River Ave. After nearly six months of renovations, the shop hosted its grand opening event on March 23.

Elhout said the response so far has been “overwhelming.”

“Honestly, I didn’t think we were going to get the feedback that we’ve gotten. It’s very exciting,” she said. “Customers have thanked us for being here, which blows my mind because I thank them for coming.”

The menu features traditional Yemeni coffee drinks, including mufawar, which is made with cardamom and cream, and jubani, a light roast flavored with ginger, cinnamon and ground coffee husks. The shop also serves French-, Turkish- and Saudi-style coffee, espresso drinks, teas and a variety of cold beverages.

Its Yemeni coffee is made from beans sourced directly from a family farm in Yemen, Elhout said.

“The majority of our ingredients come from overseas, which I think plays a role in distinguishing the flavors that we have in our drinks and food. We’re also not just a coffee shop. We have amazing deserts that we make in-house as well,” she said.

Haraz is the second Yemeni coffee shop to open in East Lansing in the past four months. In December, Moka & Co. opened at 565 E. Grand River Ave., just a three-minute walk from Haraz.

“Customers have already been mentioning that we’re different, and I think there’s plenty of business to go around for everybody,” Elhout said. “Anyway, I don’t think that I have competition. I’m always thinking about how I can be better than I am now. So, really, I’m competing with myself.”

Haraz Coffee House

501 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing

8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

(517) 657-7034



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