Tuesday morning came and I published one of the blog posts I had worked up about my trip to Israel. It wasn’t too much longer before I got this tweet from my friend Katie Pinke (of Pinke Post fame):
— Katie Pinke (@katpinke) June 14, 2011
And I replied with:
— Janice Person – JPlovesCOTTON (@JPlovesCOTTON) June 14, 2011
What followed was a rather funny series of tweets from several of us mentioned in that tweet, as well as others. Then @DadStreet tweeted the link to a blog post he had written about his quest for coffee in Israel. Seeing my assertion that while I’m not a coffee person, several of my friends found coffee during our trip elicited a question:
— Josh Becker (@iamjoshbecker) June 14, 2011
Here’s part of the blog post Josh wrote:
I am a coffee drinker. In fact, I might even say I have a problem. I’m drinking it the moment I wake up, some point during the day and then again at night. This is why what I’m about to tell you is so shocking and just plain ol’ wrong!
Are you sitting down? Do you have some coffee?
Go get some and come back…
Okay, are you ready?
PEOPLE, THERE IS NO COFFEE IN ISRAEL!!
Holy What The What?
Factors to Consider
As I looked at the difference in our perceptions, I had to wonder like Josh did whether we were in the same place. A few questions later, I found out he was visiting family whereas I was on a tour arranged for tourists/pilgrims. Granted a couple of hotels had in-room coffee machines, but that didn’t seem to be the explanation that really counted. So I think we should consider a few other things:
Given the proclamation there was no coffee in Israel and my assertion that there was coffee, a few of our tweeps were surely confused. But reading a bit more of Josh’s post, I began to understand. “The closest they have to coffee is instant coffee sold in grocery stores. Yes, the have cappucino and espresso and those types of drinks but I’m talking good old fashioned coffee.” His definition of coffee and mine are different. He means a cup’o’joe and when I talk of coffee I mean it is something to drink that springs from coffee beans. Let me point out, I’m not saying I’m right (certainly not saying Josh is LOL) but with the travel I’ve been lucky enough to take, I have gotten used to people calling what diners in the US serve as “American Coffee” or “cafe Americano” or something similar.
I remember the first time I was served coffee that springs from the Middle East. It was in Turkey at an office where I was a guest. The coffee there was so strong, it almost knocked me out! I soon came to understand that really strong coffee is the way it was made in many countries. The beverage has its roots in Ethiopia and the Middle East, it seems that the way they serve it is really strong and in small amounts. Lunch our first day touring was in Jaffa and at the end of the meal, the coffee guy came out to pour for us. Cups are small with only a little coffee in it. Quite a few of our folks drank it & enjoyed it. BUT for those who are accustomed to US coffee only, it’s a rude awakening.
Our tour guide was quick to point out that despite the global presence of Starbucks, we should know that we wouldn’t be finding any franchises in Israel. Having seen Starbucks all over Beijjing, Kuala Lumpur, Italy, etc, I found that hard to believe. But he said the brand attempted to open stores in the country and they simply failed as people in this region prefer a different type of coffee. I have to admit to busting out laughing when we saw this little Stars & Bucks Cafe in Palestian territory! We didn’t stop for a drink of coffee though. We did go to an Elvis coffee shop where our tour guide said there would be awesome coffee. It seemed most of our group thought the licensed image of Elvis on a cup that said Jerusalem was the draw.
Best Cup of Coffee in Israel
Since I’m not a coffee drinker, you shouldn’t take my word for where to find the best cup of coffee in Israel. However, I was traveling with my friend Geeta who is a coffee connoisseur. She’s the person who brings coffee back from a trip to Costa Rica. The kind of person who knows different brewing equipment, etc. And since she’s originally from India and loves to travel as much as I do, she has a global view. She proclaimed a cup of coffee we had just outside the Holy Sepulcher (just a few doors down from the German Lutheran Church) the best of the trip. She bragged about it for a day or two to the folks who weren’t with us! Since it was a tiny roadside stand, I can’t tell you the name, but it was the first cafe on the right when you walk from the German church just outside the Holy Sepulcher.
What kind of coffee do you prefer? Please leave your opinions in the comments section!
You may enjoy Wordless or Wordfilled Wednesday efforts on other blogs (maybe they won’t be so wordy!).