Specialty Coffee in Israel
Updated: Feb 8, 2020
The specialty coffee scene takes about 5% of the worldwide market today. There are many good places to visit and drink high-quality coffee, you only have to look for them.
It's been 10 months since my last visit to my home country. I waited for it a long time and for this trip, I prepared a list of specialty coffee shops I want to visit.
After discovering the lovely scene in Berlin and some parts of Europe, I was curious to try and compare a new aspect of the scene in another continent.
Israel is known for its good food and rich cuisine great beaches and warm people. A vibrant country, with mostly hot and humid weather and seems like people here are always in a rush trying to keep up with the endless daily tasks. As so, the cultural demand in Israel for coffee is to boost your energy immediately and help you stay awake, sharp and focused to go successfully through the stressing day, hot temperatures and dealing with other rushing people around you.
Restaurants and cafes are very popular and scattered all across the country. Drinking coffee is a common habit of the Israelis young and adults that would never reject an invitation for having one. Israelis adore a strong black ("Turkish coffee" by the locals) coffee made on a gas burner that they take anywhere in the world with them and they would drink it anywhere at any time.
The specialty coffee scene in Israel is still small and young. Most Specialty coffee shops are found in the city of Tel-Aviv and around it. It's quite popular I must say, that even on a rainy wintery Friday people pounce on the local cafe in the neighborhood for a last cup of coffee with friends before Shabbat is coming (Saturday- the holy day and rest day when most shops are closed).
On my tour, I went to a few specialty coffee shops (learn more) and the first thing that caught my eye was that many shops have more than one blend to offer which surprised me in a way, but also reminded me that my people love to have a choice and don't like to feel limited.
Some of the blends are a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans. That made me curious as in Berlin such a blend is rare so I had a chat with Dan, an owner of a shop in the center of Tel-Aviv with years of experience in specialty coffee and roasting. I asked him why would he choose to mix the two coffee species?
Dan's answer is crucial to basic understanding and showing the real progress and way almost always needs to be done in the specialty coffee scene. Dan said that it's not easy to change a cultural habit or a custom especially on a big scale (that's what a coffee shop needs in order to survive) so when he uses Robusta in an espresso blend he is adapting the coffee taste to the locals', but with offering 100% Arabica blends as well he slowly changes one's mind of how coffee might be tasting like and shows that there are also other options out there to try.
As much as it was hard for me to accept eventually I had to because to be honest it is true and there is no other way to change a habit but with consistency and time. Many specialty coffees do that generally speaking.
I'm happy to travel and find out that the specialty coffee community is growing and that more and more people and business owners are open and accepting the idea of high-quality coffee. This is important and this is what I take with me from my trip and tour of specialty coffee shops in Israel.
So, if you're planning a trip to Israel know that you could find specialty coffee and people who care about coffee. I encourage you to plan a walking trip through the beautiful streets of the city and jump from shop to shop to experience, not just the different coffee offerings but also the changing style and the beauty of the city that "don't sleep".
Every experience is a good experience if you learn from it.
Till next time, lots of love and great coffee :)