After nearly a five-month hiatus, Sojourners Coffee & Tea in Virginia Village reopened on February 18 with a new owner, who happens to be something of a sojourner himself, as well as a former customer.
The new SoJo’s (as neighbors call the place) came back on line with hard-to-find, specially roasted Ethiopian coffees, such as yama and yirgacheffe — beans that are considered among the finest in the world, explained Hatem “Tem” Abusadigh, the cafe's new owner. Located at 1501 South Holly Street, Sojo's also serves a variety of teas, pastries, juices and bottled waters.
Further, Abusadigh has hired Moru Specialty Coffee Roasters, another southeast Denver business, to prepare the cafe's Ethiopian coffee beans to exact specifications. Moru will wash the beans three times before roasting, a process that gives the resulting coffee the “natural, fruity flavor” for which yirgacheffe has become internationally famous, the owner explains.
Abusadigh has a long background in coffee and entrepreneurship; he previously owned and operated a cafe in his home country of Libya. “It’s still open after seventeen years, but now my brother has it,” he explains. He says he left Libya because “I wanted to know more about the world.”
Later, Abusadigh moved to Italy, where he opened another cafe in Sicily, which he sold to his business partners about three and half years ago. Again, the urge to travel arose, and he moved to the United States, landing in Denver, mostly because “I like the people here,” he says. First he opened a car dealership, Sky Drive, which he still owns. His dream, however, always remained owning a coffee shop.
“I like to make people happy,” he says, noting that his business background has focused on customer service.
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Like the shop's previous owner, Michael Brown, Abusadigh likes to travel — which is one reason he kept the coffee shop’s name and perhaps why the decor includes tasteful stacks of antique luggage next to the coffee bar and between the comfy couches and wooden chairs and tables where patrons make use of the free wi-fi and ample sunlight.
Abusadigh numbers among the original SoJo’s customers who were attracted by the small, locally owned vibe and who avoided the large coffee chains. In fact, he was grabbing a coffee at SoJo’s when he learned that the place would be closing last fall. He contacted Brown and his broker, then negotiated a new lease with the landlord.
“I really want to preserve what Michael had created in this place,” says the energetic 38-year-old. “I want this to be a place that welcomes all people, I want them to feel like this is home.”
Sojourners coffee and tea is open every day with regular morning and afternoon hours. Call 303-758-0740 or visit the shop's website for more details.