Parents can only hope their children grow up inspired and productive. Most probably also hope to maintain some common interests along the way. Jamal and Charlene Hamood must therefore be particularly proud of their progeny Nathan and Stephanie, as not only have the siblings have taken up the reigns of the music-filled, fresh-baking dessert and coffee shop the Hamoods started in the summer of 2009, but the younger generation has expanded and revamped it with a stronger, updated focus on coffee quality and craft.
Nathan Hamood started working at Dessert Oasis, his parents’ Rochester Hills, Mich., coffee shop, at the age of 13. He was bitten by the bug even then, experimenting with home coffee roasting when not helping out around the café. Now in his early 20s and with his hands on the US Roaster Corps 3-kilo machine that lives in the original Rochester location, Hamood has spearheaded an expansion of the company into a chic, spacious second location in the Capitol Park neighborhood of downtown Detroit.
Both locations also regularly host performances by local musicians, which is the part of the business that made the biggest impact on Stephanie Hamood. Now a musician herself under the stage name of Stephie James, Hamood takes particular pleasure in booking talent for the café stage among her other duties alongside her brother at Dessert Oasis.
“We focus on really trying to create an experience for customers,” Nathan Hamood told Daily Coffee News. “Desserts are a big portion of what we do as well. Come in for a really great coffee, sit down, have that whole experience, and listen to some really great live music.”
With baking and roasting still done at the Rochester Hills shop, the new approximately 2,500-square-foot café that opened its doors about three months ago can devote more of its space to seating, performance space, and a generous workflow for baristas on some top-shelf gear.
The Detroit Oasis has high ceilings, a wide-open feel and subtle nods to vintage automotive culture adorning the walls. Behind the vaguely octagonal bar, contrasting the old-timey knick-knacks, there hum a pair of ultra-modern Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinders alongside a commanding 2-group Slayer V3.
With a curved bar in full view of patrons from every angle, baristas need to be on their A-game at all times. “The pros are that it’s super transparent, the customer sees every step of the process, but the cons are that it’s super transparent and the customer sees every step of the process,” joked Hamood. “It forces us to keep a really great, clean work environment, and do only things that we’re super proud to show.”
As for the founding senior Hamoods, Jamal has returned to his pre-Dessert vocation of being an attorney, although he still helps keep the company’s affairs in order. “My parents are a really great support system. My dad is still very involved with a lot of our business matters,” said the younger Hamood. “I constantly get really great words of advice and help, and all sorts of support.”
Going forward, Dessert Oasis intends to redouble its efforts to sell whole beans online, and then to make a push into local and regional wholesale. When demand and financial timing is right, Hamood intends to take a large step up from the 3-kilo to a 12-kilo roaster and continue to expand their retail presence as well. “I would also like to open additional locations,” said Hamood, projecting another café or two within the next two to three years.