Part of Alma's rapid popularity is from earned good will. The proprietor, Irena Stein, is well known on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus for her two cafes, Alkimia, a cafe in Gilman Hall, and, particularly, Cafe Azafran, located in the Space Telescope Science Institute. Stein, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, lived in Paris and Brussels before settling in Baltimore. She worked as a jewelry designer before opening Azafran in 2002, and you can tell she has an artist's eye. Even Alma's website is ravishing.