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Turkish and Arabic coffee stand teaches Fort Collins about coffee and culture

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After spending the summer in Jordan, a Colorado State University student decided to bring a piece of his experience back with him to Colorado.

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Shane Evans, a student in the supply chain and management program, studied Arabic abroad in Jordan over the summer where he was inspired by the Turkish coffee carts he saw everywhere.

“My first coffee [in Jordan] was on the first day of Ramadan,” Evans said, as he pulled out a photo from his blog on his smartphone. “[The crema of] the coffee looked like a crescent moon.”

Ziad Alquhtani, also a CSU student from Saudi Arabia studying electrical engineering, received a phone call from Evans while he was in Jordan and discussed the possibilities of the business idea. They decided it was feasible, so Evans began writing out the business plan for the Bedouin Coffee cart when he returned to the States.

With help from his father, he built a cart to share Arabic culture and language through coffee.

Evans is the owner of the Bedouin Coffee cart and his partners are brothers, Ziad and Ahmed Alquhtani and their cousin, Eyas Algahtani.

“I was studying at the library last spring and Shane came up to me and said ‘Do you speak Arabic?'” Zaid said. “We’ve been friends ever since.”

The four of them meet customers, teaching them Arabic phrases and words over coffee as classic Arabic music, like renowned Lebanese singer Fairouz, plays in the background.

“Our goal is to share language, culture and breakdown stereotypes,” Evans said. “We also want to help out the Syrian Crisis, so 10 percent of our revenue [before costs] goes to UNICEF.”

They ask customers for their names and write it in Arabic on the sleeve of the cup.

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Evans said along with bringing Arab culture to Fort Collins, he wants to create the Arabic major at CSU, where only a minor is offered.

“I’m trying to create an Arabic major, so I’m going to go back either to Ramallah [Palestine] or Aman [Jordan] to study for a year,” Evans said.

Evans learned while in Jordan that adding milk or creme to Turkish and Arabic coffee is taboo, so he decided to carry on the tradition. Bedouin Coffee sells traditional Turkish coffee with sugar or chocolate, golden Gulf coffee and Moroccan green tea.

They serve eight ounce sizes because there is more caffeine per ounce in Turkish and Arabic coffee compared to American style coffee, according to Bedouin Coffee. They do not accept cash, only debit and credit cards.

Mark Lauterbach,  a Fort Collins resident, is a regular at the Bedouin Coffee cart.

“I’ve been coming here three times a week for the past two weeks,” Lauterbach said.

Lauterbach said he learned a lot about ISIL and the Middle East through his visits at the coffee cart. He also said he likes that they provide a service that no one else offers and thinks it is great they donate 10 percent to UNICEF.

The United Nations Children’s Fund helps provide food, clothing, humanitarian and developmental aid to children and mothers in more than 190 countries and territories, according to their website.

The Bedouin Coffee cart is on the corner of Laurel and Howes on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday every week from 7:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Collegian Reporter Dina Alibrahim Fike can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Dnalibrahim.

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