Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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work with me to make something happen. That openness on his part, along with the trust he placed in my ideas, led to the fi rst-ever barista jam in Tel Aviv, which we held in March 2016. Little did I know then that this event would be the turning point for change within the coffee industry in Israel, no matter that we were starting from a very mod- est, grassroots level. Back then, our main goal for this new direction we proposed for the Israeli coffee community would return the focus to the artisan—the barista—whose craftsmanship would be the focus instead of the prev- alent trend of moneyed companies emphasizing quantity over quality in their service. "I like the direction the coffee scene in Tel Aviv is taking," Ofer tells me. " We are seeing a return to the independent coffee shops. There is more attention to coffee, to the cup itself, to the beans that are being used. But most importantly, more and more people working in coffee are seeing themselves for the first time as professional baristas." It takes a collective effort to lift up and change a way of life, and luckily, people in Israel have been showing up to help create and shape this budding specialty-coffee community together. A BRIEF HISTORY In Israel, coffee is a complex story that unfolds in layers, one that is rooted deeply in tradition and national pride. Many people are fi rst exposed to coffee during their required military service, which sets up a specifi c kind coffee ritual that usually shapes how most Israelis will come to drink coffee for the rest of their lives. Cafe botz or cafe shachor, "mud" or black coffee much like Turkish coffee, is the shared tradition that passes the time during those long years in the military. During that time of service, it becomes the customary way of making coffee and seamlessly becomes a daily habit when Israelis return home after their service. During the mid-1990s, a few coffee chains came onto the scene and introduced a new kind of coffee hospitality and preparation to the Israeli masses, with a bit more of a sophisticated touch. The cafe hafuch—or upside-down coffee revolution—turned heads in a way the old "mud coffee" couldn't. In 2001, Starbucks tried to make aliyah to Israel without try- ing to adapt to the vastly different Israeli palate when compared to the average American coffee drinker's taste. It was therefore a complete disaster, and Starbucks quickly made yerida back to the Pictured here at Barista Jam V at Cafelix Cafe in Tel Aviv, Alaa A iya is considered one of the city's best baristas. Alaa works in Haifa and drove all the way to Tel Aviv to compete at this event a er winning one of its previous iterations. Alaa is the fi rst Israeli Arab to win a Barista Jam Champion title through the Sharing Table + 3 Brewing Barista Jam events. The organization refl ects the local coff ee community's aim to celebrate diversity and welcome anyone who loves coff ee. 30 barista magazine

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