The New Brew
Israel’s huge coffee culture can be seen on every street corner. But Judith Goldstein uncovers a host of burgeoning expert roasters who are applying new methods to the caffeinated madness
As Luigi Bezzerra invented the espresso machine in the early part of the 20th century to expedite the brewing process, the Japanese were perfecting the slow pour brewing process once invented in Germany for very different reasons. While for espresso, the name of the game was speed, slow pour filter coffee was all about the bold expression of flavor which led a strong culture in Japan to invent coffee kettles and narrow filters to highlight the diversity of coffee beans and roasting methods from all regions. What was once a culture understood by coffee aficionados, rapidly began spreading throughout the world, from Berlin, to San Francisco, people are starting to appreciate the slow pour method. After all, why shouldn’t coffee be brewed with the same care that goes into poaching a fine fish, roasting a tomato or jamming a fruit? What people tend to forget in our fast and convenient world, is that coffee originates in a berry fruit and a slow brewing process can bring out the complexity of flavors related to the region it was grown in, to the drying technique that was used to ferment the bean, bringing out flavors that can range anywhere from tobacco, to chocolate, to a rich, oily nut, to a lush tropical fruit. If it is true that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world after oil, then it is only fair that the bean is more than just an industrialized good, but something that is handled with the attention and care that it deserves. In true Israeli culture of experimentation and open mindedness, the trend has taken a strong foothold here and from the center of Tel Aviv, to Jaffa, to Ramat Hasharon, pour over coffee has become the name of the game.
17 Gordon St, Tel Aviv
The only dedicated filter coffee shop in the whole Israel, at Gemma Farshi’s small and intimate coffee lover’s hub, you will see no espresso machine. Although shocking at first sight, it takes only a matter of minutes to notice the different brewing tools stocked on her bar and around the shelves ranging from the Kalita Wave to the Hario Woodneck and Aeropress. She uses her astute coffee knowledge learned through intense training at the best boutique coffee shops in London, to buy solely direct trade beans from the best roasters around the world and meticulously creates each cup using the best method for the chosen beans. Farshi is vigilant about supporting a coffee culture that is transparent, fair and respects the intensity of work it takes to take the bean to the cup. Both the filter and cold brew change almost daily according the coffee seasonality. The cold brew has quickly become a crowd favorite due to its intense flavour profile and the silky body of the coffee which occurs after slow brewing the coffee for up to 24 hours.
15 Sgula St, Jaffa
Discovering a lack of true high-end coffee culture in the center of Tel Aviv, founder of Cafelix, Phillip Schefer, opened the first branch in Jaffa to provide the best and freshest coffee in town. Earlier this year they took their coffee style to another level and began wood roasting to further differentiate their range of single origin beans. Since it’s inception, Cafelix has used pour over coffee devices to showcase their beans and most recently, began producing cold drip coffee for their loyal and growing clientele.
56 Ussishkin St, Ramat HaSharon
Established by some of biggest coffee professionals in Israel in 1996, Portofino coffee has been the leading supplier of coffee beans to some of the most well known coffee shops around Israel. Their dedicated baristas hand select the coffee beans from around the world which are then roasted in-house. Their dedication to coffee and the search for the finest beans are apparent from the moment you step into their shop and they are equally passionate about educating Israelis towards high end coffee culture. Today they use hand filtering coffee methods, such as the Chemex and Hario V60 and plan to consult other coffee shops on introducing these methods.
36 HaMeyasdim St, Zikhron Ya`aqov
David Strausberg, a native of Chicago, is not only interested in coffee, he is truly passionate about it. This is what drove him to open Cafe Kilimanjaro in 2013 in Zichron Yakov and use a wide range of brewing methods. He hands select his beans according to the taste profile he wants to present from a range of bright acidic coffee to deeper coffee notes. He selects many single origin beans and in his micro roastery the coffee is house roasted in small batches. Although there is the espresso method used, David is the only coffee shop making syphoned brewed coffee, which is similar to a French press but uses a vacuum method to produce a coffee that is deeper and finer. He is also working with slow pour methods including Chemex and Hario V60 which he explains are catered to the specific bean profile and at times his mood.
Kikar Dizengoff, Tel Aviv
Dan O’Reilly, co owner of Cafe Nahat, worked for years in the coffee roasting industry before he opened Cafe Nahat. He saw a vacuum in the boutique coffee culture in Tel Aviv, where espresso machines dominated. His mission was to bring the pour over method to the center of Israel and introduce people to these methods. Today Cafe Nahat employs cold brew and pour over methods in their shop in which beans are carefully selected to present customers with a wide range of flavors and textures.