19 Drips offers westside Ann Arbor new coffee spot on Liberty Street

Family owned and operated coffee shop blends traditional and local

Saeed Ebrahim of 19 Drips stands ready to pull shots of espresso for customers of the new Ann Arbor coffee spot. Photo | Sarah M. Parlette

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After opening on June 30, 19 Drips is now helping westside Ann Arborites get their caffeine fix. 

Located in the row of shops on W. Liberty Street between S. Maple Rd and W. Stadium Blvd, 19 Drips is owned and operated by father and son, Hisham and Saeed Ebrahim.

The duo has had a love of coffee for years and has been learning about coffee culture for some time. Named after how many grams of grounds go into their double shot of espresso, 19 Drips pays homage to the duo’s knowledge about coffee and coffee culture, which they have been exploring for years. 

The new coffee shop also joins together the family’s history with the west side of Ann Arbor. Hisham, who goes by his last name, Ebrahim, worked at an auto repair shop close by for 18 years. Saeed got his start in the food industry at Pilar’s Tamales -- which is right next store. 

Ebrahim said that they were originally interested in green coffee (unroasted beans) but coffee culture has changed so they decided to focus on what goes into a cup of coffee, like other third-wave coffee shops. They give their roaster, another father-son business right outside of Detroit, Ethiopian beans from farms and sources they know. 

“We supply them [the roaster] with our own beans. We get to know exactly where it's coming from -- what source, altitude, humidity, moisture -- all that stuff goes right into that bean, “ Saeed said. “So that way, we can control that factor and that way we know exactly what’s going in it. And on top of that, we like to cup it right after we get it roasted.”

With familial ties to Yemen, the family also wanted to incorporate their roots into the shop, so their coffee isn’t the typical hum-drum cup of joe. Their beans are roasted very, very lightly, which gives 19 Drips coffee a soft yellow color, something similar to what they would find in Yemen. 

19 Drips also showcases a black tea from Yemen, and traditional mint tea, which are sold by the pot for sharing. 

They plan to rotate and showcase different types of Yemeni traditional sweets so that customers can experience new and different things rather than a limited and repetitive menu. 

The father-son duo also tries to keep some things local. Their teas, pastries and sweets are local: pastries from DJ’s Bakery; herbal teas from TeaHaus. 

19 Drips serves teas by the pot, which it cleverly keeps warm with a lit candle underneath. Photo | Sarah M. Parlette

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Filling a void

19 Drips also fills an un-caffeinated void on the westside. With few coffee shops in the area, the new coffee spot not only fills that void, but the shop also offers westsiders a late night study spot or quiet work area. 

The cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, but it stays open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

And there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for the small cafe. Saeed said that on 19 Drips’ opening day, more than half of their customers were excited to finally have a coffee spot close to their homes that they could walk to.

Since its soft opening on June 28, Saeed said that the cafe is currently testing its hours and its menu. They [Saeed and his father] are listening to what customers have to say and ask customers what they would like to see or what they would do with the space.

Be on the lookout for their Facebook page and website soon. In the meantime, you can follow 19 Drips on Instagram for regular updates. 

19 Drips is located at 2263 West Liberty St.

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