Heads up, caffeine lovers, there’s a new coffee shop in town.
Part of the college experience is finding a trendy local business to go study or hang out. Enter Arusha’s Coffee, the latest hot spot in Belton. Named for a coffee-growing city in Tanzania, the java joint boasts more than 100 different types of tea and dozens of other drinks.
The latest project of owner Hatem Chouchane, Arusha’s opened in December. Before venturing into the coffee business, Chouchane was based in Harker Heights. As the story goes, he was running errands through Belton and saw a “For Sale” sign in an old building downtown. An idea began to brew.
He quickly called up his friend and manager, Ernst Jacques.
“He called me and said, ‘Hey, Jacques, we’re going to do something special, something new,’” Jacques said.
A month later, Chouchane and Jacques were moving into Arusha’s. The shop has been gaining ground ever since.
Junior education major Zach Martin first heard about the place from a friend and has since become a fan.
“I think the overall atmosphere is a lot calmer than other places I’ve found around Belton,” he said. “It’s good to see that since they just opened…they’ve been getting so much business from people.”
Martin is not the only student who enjoys Arusha’s ambience. Senior criminal justice major Taylor Holleyman found the spacious venue perfect for studying and hanging out with friends.
“They have things to do like pool and dart boards,” he said.
Sophomore public relations major Jennifer Wassell likes that the business stays open until 10 p.m., an aspect other places around town don’t have. The hours provide plenty of time for students to stop by between classes and into the evenings.
In the future, Arusha’s hopes to expand the menu to include more food and to start hosting live music and karaoke nights. Chouchane also plans to accept CruCards soon, a feature which excites students.
Barely two months since opening its doors, the coffee shop has plenty of loyal customers.
“We already have a lot of people coming in and out,” Jacques said. “I’ve met a couple people who want to try all the teas, which is over a hundred different flavors.”
For those who want to take the taste of Arusha’s home with them, the store sells coffee beans, giving visitors incentive to try each roast.
The staff’s passion for people and coffee is a key ingredient to Arusha’s instant success.
“One of the things that sets this place apart from other places is that (the owners) do take the time to talk to you,” Martin said. “The fact that it’s (them) and not just somebody that they’ve hired means a lot. They realize the customers are what keep them going, and they go with that. They make sure to invest in that.”