Imported World Coffees
By Paulina Kababie
Have you been trying to find a good cup of coffee in El Paso that comes from other countries? Then come on down to Seham’s Coffee Roasters/Custom Bakery. Esau Halow, owner of Seham’s Coffee Roasters/Custom Bakery wants to offer El Paso a variety of coffees from around the world. It’s a way to taste a variety of coffees and understand how good coffee can be. “What inspired me, I’ve been here all my life, my father opened up a business back in 1934. I’ve been self-employed ever since I’ve gotten out of the army.” Halow continued, “I’ve been self-employed over 50 years, retired 10 years ago. I lost my wife five years ago. I was just infuriated, I had to do something and I’ve always wanted to get into the coffee business; with the few dollars I had left over, that’s what made me do it” said Halow.
Seham’s Coffee Roasters imports coffee from all over the world. The popular places that most people know about are Colombian and Brazilian. However, this company wants to offer all types of coffee. And if there’s a particular type of coffee that the customer wants but Seham’s Coffee Roasters doesn’t have it, Esau will order it so that the next time the customer comes in, it will be available. Before Esau started his business, he took classes about coffee so he would understand how to rate and grind coffee. He also learned how much caffeine there can be in different coffee beans.
He explained that there are two main types of coffee beans, the “Coffea Arabica” and “Coffea Canephora” (generally known as Robusta). Robusta beans have a higher amount of caffeine and are generally placed in beverages that are high in caffeine content such as espresso or Turkish coffee. He also explained how coffee beans have maturity level and should be looked at like a shopper looks at fruit. If the bean is still immature it will have a different taste to it. “People don’t realize that coffee is like the frijol bean. When it’s mature it’s a certain size but if it’s a smaller size it’s not mature and it has a different flavor. You have to take that little bean out there and that gives you the premium flavor,” said Halow.
Esau Halow is a native of El Paso. He was born in Juarez but in 1931 his family moved to El Paso 3 months after he was born. He graduated from El Paso High and went to Texas A&M. After he graduated Texas A&M in 1953, he fought in the Korean War. Afterwards he came back to El Paso to begin his own business. He then met and married his wife. Not only did she help him by working in the business but she was his constant inspiration to open a bakery. They proudly announced that they used no preservatives and only sold fresh bread. Mrs. Halow passed five years ago. The Halow’s son Joey continues to run the bakery while Esau begins too run his coffee shop.
That’s not all. Right next door to the bakery and coffee shop, Esau’s other son runs the restaurant, “Five Points Bistro”. And Esau’s third son will be coming from McAllen, Texas to help with the three family owned businesses. “Each one of us is different so each one of us has different ideas. So it makes it good”, said Joey Halow. The only child who is not involved in the businesses is Halow’s daughter who lives in Dallas. Although Esau misses her, he is very happy to have his three sons with him and involved in the businesses. “I’ll get up at 10 and my kids will help with being here, and I’ll just come to give them a hard time”, Esau said with a laugh.
Seham’s Coffee Roasters/Custom Bakery will grind the coffee and package it to make sure it fresh and clean. Halow wants his customers to know that there are ways too preserve coffee so that it will stay fresh for a longer period of time. “People don’t realize that coffee . . . if you grind some coffee the maximum time you can use it is three weeks. It loses its flavor; the flavor goes into the atmosphere. Now the roasted coffee will give you at least six months”, said Esau.
So, the next time you’re in the mood for a good cup of coffee and want to try coffee from Guatemala, Honduras, Turkey or Mexico (to name a few) stop by Seham’s Coffee Roasters/Custom Bakery and for a good sandwich or meal stop by Five Points Bistro. Their address is 3009 Montana Street and phone number 915-562-3009