Aisha Tedros of A.T. Oasis Coffee and Tea Shop: 2014 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Culinary Arts (VIDEO)

Categories: Big Brains

Lauren Saria
Aisha Tedros of A.T. Oasis Coffee and Tea Shop.
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives, and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.

Leading up to the Big Brain Award announcement and Artopia on April 25, Jackalope Ranch and Chow Bella will introduce the finalists. Up today: Aisha Tedros.

"Anyone can do it," Aisha Tedros says as she prepares a cup of strong coffee flavored with ground ginger, a specialty from her hometown in Africa. "I was always told that about America, and it's true."

See also: "Urban Legend" Awards Announced in Honor of New Times' Fifth Big Brain Awards

Video by Evie Carpenter.

Tedros moved the United States 12 years ago from Keren, the second largest city in Eritrea, a small eastern African country that's just north of Ethiopia. Back then, she spoke no English and could neither read nor write. Like so many others, she came in search of the American Dream, having grown up being told that in America anyone can be anything they want.

Tedros taught herself to speak English, and these days you can hardly get her to stop. The coffee shop owner switches back and forth with ease between English and the six African languages she also speaks. Tedros says her innate chattiness always set her apart from other Eritrean women. It's part of the reason she says America immediately felt like home.

"When I got here, I called my mom and said, 'Everyone here is like me!,'" she says with a laugh.

Before opening A.T. Oasis Coffee and Tea Shop in Phoenix with her husband Abdul, Tedros spent years working as a server at Mimi's Cafe at Mesa's Fiesta Mall. A framed letter from the restaurant's manager sits on a shelf inside the shop. It thanks Tedros for her years of service and commends her for exceptional customer service.

It's still one of her strongest assets as a small business owner.

Lauren Saria
Inside A.T. Oasis Coffee and Tea.

Location Info

A.T. Oasis Coffee & Tea Shop

4613 E Thomas Ave, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Fiesta Mall

1445 W. Southern, Mesa, AZ

Category: General

Cartel Coffee Lab

225 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Echo Coffee

2902 N. 68th St., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Bergie's Coffee Roast House

309 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ

Category: General

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Gwynne Heiser
Gwynne Heiser

have been already and the coffee is fabulous

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