"It's a good thing you didn't come last week," said the barista. Since the first day of its soft opening on May 4, lines have been out the door for Minnesota's first outpost of Qamaria (pronounced kah-mah-REE-yah) Yemeni Coffee Co.

The national chain's first local cafe is operating inside a beige-on-beige strip mall in Little Canada, and the nondescript exterior belies the vibrant colors and chipper hospitality waiting inside.

The fast-expanding company was founded by entrepreneurs Hatem Al-Eidaroos and Munif Maweri, who opened the first cafe in Michigan in 2021. Now franchised, there also are Qamarias in Texas, California and Illinois, and more are on the way.

According to staff in the Little Canada location, plans to expand to other Twin Cities suburbs are in the works.

Coffee brewing purportedly began in Yemen some 500 years ago, and the Ottomans are often credited with creating coffee culture, that third space between home and the mosque. There's a lot of history and expectations wrapped up in one cafe, but Qamaria is poised to deliver.

Location: 3 Little Canada Road, Little Canada, 651-219-5973, qamariacoffee.com

Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The drinks: First the coffee, as the importance of the beans and how they're brewed can't be overstated. Yemeni coffee is often a lighter roast, made with greener beans or the husks, as is the case with the Qishr. Coffee husks are dried on rooftops before being brewed with ginger, cardamom and other spices. Sample it in the Queen Sheeba ($5.99), a lower caffeine option since it's made with only the husks.

For a brighter pick-me-up, try the signature Qamaria roast of beans mixed with cardamom and cinnamon, resulting in an almost peppery/floral coffee flavor, served black, with cream or as a hot or cold latte ($6.99-$8.75).

The Mufawar coffee ($6.99) is also brewed with cardamom (for cardamom spice lovers, there's an abundance of options).

And if consuming the most caffeine possible is the play of the day, there's also Turkish coffee ($6.25).

But the beverages aren't limited to coffee. There are fruity refreshers ($7.50), mango smoothies ($9.50) and a selection of teas flavored with mint, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, along with matcha and hibiscus. ($5.99).

The food: The cafe is sweet-tooth heaven. Try the honeycomb bread (khalyet nahel): Dough is wrapped around cream cheese and baked into a bread that's sliced into triangles and served toasted or not, doused with golden honey. There's a wide selection of milk-soaked tres leches cakes and cheesecakes. We sampled a milk cake topped with crumbled Biscoff cookies ($8.99) and another milk cake that was green as the rain-spattered tree leaves outside, laced with pistachio flavor and garnished with crushed nuts and dried rose petals ($8.99).

Other freshly made baked goods include an almond-paste-filled croissant. On the morning we visited, shortly after opening, there weren't much in the way of savory options.

The vibe: This is a cafe for lingering, with tall, exposed ceilings and plenty of seating from standard tables to couches and upholstered, fluffy banquettes lining the exterior wall. There's also a glass-walled conference room in one corner, equipped with AV hookups. The service is so friendly it borders on joyous, and the people inside are only too happy to share knowledge with new guests.

Accessibility: There is limited disability parking, but the parking lot is large. The good news is that there are no steps inside the cafe and the single-level floors are easy to maneuver to a table. Because of the tall ceilings, sound can be a challenge when it's busy and the room is full.