Startup of the Week: Saudi students wake up to delights of new coffee shop

Updated 11 September 2019

Startup of the Week: Saudi students wake up to delights of new coffee shop

RIYADH: Students and workers in Jeddah are waking up to the cultural delights of a new community coffee shop venture.

Coffee & in Jeddah has been set up by three friends with marketing backgrounds to offer quality drinks in a personal, homey, local cafe environment.

The coffee house in the city’s Al-Fayha’a district is within walking distance of Dar Al-Hekma University and King Abdul Aziz University, and its owners aim to cater mainly to students and professionals.

“Whether you are looking for a place to finish your school project, or just want to enjoy some time on our patio between classes, we are here for you,” said joint owner Nada Akhonbay.

Her partners in the business, Essam Akhonbay and Ali Azhari, are both veteran marketers with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies such as Procter & Gamble, Abudawood, and Basamh.

Their love of good coffee, board games and books were the inspiration behind the shop and influenced its design.

The trio studied abroad where they enjoyed the experience of visiting neighborhood coffee shops and decided to recreate a similar haven for students in Jeddah to relax and get their daily caffeine fix.

In contrast to big multinational coffee shop chains, Coffee & aims to be all about culture and community. “Our goal is to make our customers feel at home by providing quality services and recognizing our regulars by name,” Akhonbay added.

She said they sought to enhance the richness of their interactions with customers and each other and that everyone was welcome.

“We pride ourselves on serving carefully crafted coffee drinks made from 100 percent organic coffee beans, along with non-caffeine drinks. My personal favorites, exclusive to Coffee &, are the red velvet frappe and red velvet latte, which are perfectly sweet with a hint of coffee.”

As well as providing a place for customers to relax, study or work, visitors can also enjoy playing a range board games from around the world while sipping their favorite drinks.

Although the menu consists mainly of coffees, a variety of juices, sandwiches and desserts are also available.

“The next time you come to Jeddah, please stop by to experience the real college campus independent coffee shop, managed and owned by locals,” said Akhonbay.

It is located at Abdullah Sulayman Street in Jeddah’s Al-Fayha’a district. Coffee lovers can follow them on Instagram

What We Are Reading Today: Floating Coast  by Bathsheba Demuth

Updated 16 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Floating Coast  by Bathsheba Demuth

Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: Through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.

The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape, according to a review published on

The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans — the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia — before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. 

Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?