Bay Area/ Oakland/ Food & Drinks
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Published on May 11, 2024
From Gaza to Oakland, Entrepreneur Mohammedali Alfarra Brews New Beginnings with Covo Coffee Pop-UpSource: Google Street View

A Gaza-native coffee roaster has found a new beginning in Oakland in a heartening display of resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. Mohammedali Alfarra, who established Covo Coffee in Khan Younis almost 35 years ago, has partnered with Jerusalem Coffee House to provide Bay Area locals with a taste of his dream. The coffee roaster's resilient journey has led him through various countries, marking his pursuit of sharing premium blends despite the adversities he faced back home.

Alfarra's pursuit of coffee roasting has been met with tumultuous challenges, including the destruction of his store in Gaza earlier this year due to a missile strike amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict. According to the SF Eater, after the tragic loss, Alfarra and his family relocated to Sunnyvale, where they are rebuilding their lives and businesses. His pop-up at Oakland's Jerusalem Coffee House marks a significant step in this journey, with tastings of Covo Coffee scheduled for one weekend day each month.

Per the Mercury News, Jerusalem Coffee House has stood out in its local community, becoming a hub for activists and organizers. During a phone tag game with Alfarra that culminated on the final night of Ramadan, the coffee house owner Abdulrahim "Raheem" Harara described the eventual connection as "a gift from God," as reported by SF Eater. Harara, whose parents hail from Gaza, sees his partnership with Alfarra as a blend of community work and global impact.

Local support for Alfarra's endeavors has been tremendous, with his coffee available at Reem's on Mission Street and in the Ferry Building. Delighting in free tastings, the customers' embrace of the new aromas—alongside chocolate chip cookies and Algerian baklava—makes for a culturally rich experience. Alfarra told SF Eater, "We want it in every supermarket in every community" about his aspirations to expand Covo's presence in the Bay Area.

Meanwhile, tensions continue to escalate in Gaza. The violence has claimed the lives of thousands and led to widespread shortages affecting the population. Local responses to the international strife have been seen as far as Rockridge, where protests have erupted, calling for divestment from companies engaged with Israel. As movements grow, establishments like Jerusalem Coffee House become places to savor a cup of coffee and for solidarity and community to bloom amidst strife. As per Jerusalem Coffee House's Instagram, the partnership with Alfarra is celebrated as a privilege and a testament to both his spirit and that of Gaza.