Food, Online Magazine, Showdown

The Men Behind 12 Cups

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What’s the deal with specialty coffee?  


Tell us a little about yourselves and your roasting house.

12 Cups started by two young Saudi entrepreneurs Ghassan Alhazzaa and Bader Aljalajel, who studied abroad and came back to Saudi and found a need in the market for high quality variety of coffee beans.

We met in Portland, OR back in 2010, during that time we talked a lot about future employment opportunities and career paths. After coming back to Saudi, we met at different cafes across Riyadh for discussions, and every time we’d have an issue with the quality of beverages served. So we decided to brew our coffee, but the question was where to get our caffeine from. We started importing our coffee from the same source of one café in Portland we both liked.

Our friends, family and colleagues starting asking us to share our coffee with them, and eventually asked if we can include them in our orders. Little by little we realized we started to import in large quantities. That’s where the idea of starting 12 cups came from.DSC07371-Edit

What is your secret to the perfect cup of coffee?

I wish there was a simple secret. There is a long selective process that most people are not aware of. From selecting the best soil for farming then harvest and ripening. Also the method of transportation all the way to roasting profile and the form of preparation.

What’s your absolute favorite kind of beans?

Dark roasted African single origin beans (the beans came from one farm). African beans tend to have more fruitful hints.DSC07276

If you were stuck on an island and you could only choose 3 things to take with you, what would it be?

Bag of coffee beans, Godiva chocolate bar-autumn edition and the second season of “Dead Like Me.”

What kind of brewing methods do you prefer?

I like the simplicity and fun of the pour-over method. Plus, it produces a cleaner cup, meaning it would be residual-free.DSC07359

Are there any unique drinks on your menu that stand out?

Shakerato during summer.

Where do you import your coffee beans from?

Indonesia, Africa, Central America and Hawaii.

How is the recent rise in coffee prices going to affect business?

I think it has a positive effect in general. If someone is going to pay an extra for a cup of a coffee, he will be expecting a quality that lives up to that price. Subsequently coffee- startups would thrive since their selling point is not the availability, it is the quality of the product.coffee-cup

One thing you’d add to your café if you had infinite funds.

I would like to raise the coffee-awareness-culture. Maybe more media presence and endorsements from influential individuals and organizations, a 12-Cups-Academy?

Location: Suite 400, King Abdulaziz Branch Rd.
Mob: +966-550050951
Web: 12cups.com.sa
Working Hours: 6 – 12 a.m.

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