Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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T E L AV I V, I S R A E L Coffee has always evoked strong feelings in Israel, as Israelis take immense pride in the cups served locally and the culture that has evolved around their coffee experience at the café. Walk down any street in any Israeli city, and you'll likely be a bit overwhelmed by the prevalence and variety of cafés overcrowding our hectic streets. And no matter the time of day, or the fact that there are so many, many options, every café is somehow always cramped for space. A running joke with locals is the question of whether anyone actually works in Tel Aviv, because it seems all anyone ever does is sit at cafés. It's true: We Israelis live out our lives in the interiors of our neighborhood coffee shops. These spaces are the communal living rooms that have blossomed into modern-day cultural salons, where both the high- and lowbrow are embraced and admired equally. Coffee is as much a part of our lives as the salty air we breathe in from the Mediterranean. It seems bizarre then that a country whose endless high-tech innovations and acclaimed cuisine—both facets that are pushing boundaries in global innovation—has somehow escaped the third- wave coffee trend, particularly because our love affair with coffee is so much a part of our culture. Israel is a coffee-obsessed country, so looking toward the future of specialty coffee locally is all about communicating to Israelis what specialty coffee is, and helping them to develop a taste for it. PUSHING FOR CHANGE Making headway with specialty coffee in Israel isn't for the faint of heart: You really have to want it, because just loving it won't be enough. I came to this coffee world as an interloper, a mere coffee consum- er—albeit an enthusiastic one—with wide eyes and wild ideas. I knew I needed help to make something new happen in our coffee scene. In early 2016, I asked local coffee veteran Ofer Gvirsman his thoughts on putting together a latte art jam event at the café he manages in central Tel Aviv. Ofer was one of the only industry people I knew then who was open to hearing new and creative ideas and was willing to Opposite page, at top: A city of lifestyle, Tel Aviv, also known as "The Bubble," is considered the creative and fi nancial center of Israel, where people unapologetically live their lives with one focus: to enjoy themselves. It is a city pushing boundaries on every level, from a thriving startup community to being named one of the top vegan cities in the world. Locals are quick to point out that the city revolves around the beach. The popular Gordon Beach in Tel Aviv is pictured here. Below: Though Israel is becoming more recognized for its innovations, Israelis try to fi nd balance in honoring the past. You can do that with a visit to the historic Old Jaff a City, where Arabic coff ee and baklava from the traditional, charming Basma Cafe are the perfect treat to enjoy while taking in the authentic sights, sounds, and tastes of the area. This page: The Mediterranean Sea is a suitable symbol for the city of Tel Aviv, and many locals fi nd themselves visiting the beach—such as the one pictured here, Jaff a Beach—at some point every day. Walking the beach a er a long day of work, locals enjoy the impressive Tel Avian sunset that signals the busy nightlife awaiting them right across the street. 29

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