Last updated March 16th 2020
About the author… Alicia Gansz is a happy summertime resident of Israel. She is a former communications director of a Middle East Think Tank in Washington, and is currently consulting for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She obviously loves coffee, and really loves Tel Aviv. So she is thrilled with the opportunity to explore the very creative coffee scene presently flowering in the White City!
Nahalat Binyamin St 3 | Shuk | Sun-Fri 7 – dusk, Sat 8 – dusk
This beautiful, bustling “secret garden” is located near the top of Nahalat Benyamin. It therefore serves as a perfect haven of refreshment in the midst of Nahalat’s vibrant garment district-turned-artisan market. Jonesy Gardener has a great selection of juices, coffee, tea, and other drinks, and a lunch/brunch menu filled with interesting and tasty variety. Make this delightful “garden” spot part of your next visit to Nahalat Binyamin! Read more.
Frishman 43 | Lev Ha’Ir | Sun-Thurs 7-19, Friday half day
This oasis of a coffee shop is located near the lively Dizengoff shopping district—near enough for shoppers to drop in for a refreshing reward after the day’s errands. HaOgen is a welcome newcomer to Tel Aviv’s rich coffee-house culture, and it fits right in to this sophisticated neighborhood. The coffee itself is excellent, and locally roasted, and with an exceptional flourish of hospitality. This is a great place to meet a friend for lunch, work on a project with a colleague, or just chill out with an invigorating cup of coffee. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a delicious espresso made by experts, or to connect with this warm and friendly urban cafe community! Read more.
Retzif HaAliya HaShniya St 1 | Jaffa | Daily 8am – 11pm
People love Cafelix for many reasons. The proprietors consider themselves artisans in the purchasing, crafting, and roasting of their beans and blends. They care about relationships with the farmers. They are attentive to the conditions in which the coffee is grown. The coffee blends even have African and Central/South American animal names (and logos to match) like “Giraffe or “Elephant.” The labels on the bags are stamped with a picture of the animal rather than the name. How cute and creative is that? Read more.
A little bit more about coffee in Tel Aviv…
At first glance, you wouldn’t think a city like Tel Aviv could bring forth and nourish such a thriving cafe culture. Yes, it’s a sophisticated metropolis with world-class dining options. But not like Paris or Prague of old. People here generally do not sit together in a leisurely manner over hours-long conversation. This is a city that barely sleeps. It’s on the move. Yesh harbeh energia. If you are not up and at ‘em by 7:00 am you have missed the day. Take-away-to-work coffee, yes. But not a natural fit for the “cafe culture” as traditionally practiced.
So why are Beit Cafes succeeding wildly here? Yes, this city, and this generation of Tel Avivis in particular, loves good coffee. But more than that, the Beit Cafe is where relationships happen. And Israel, perhaps Tel Aviv in particular, is, gloriously, all about relationships. The Beit Cafe is the place to put down the phone, sink into your seat, look the person across from you in the eyes, and enjoy real conversation over a steaming aromatic infusion of something dark and rich. When you are hanging out with a friend in the unique social environment of a coffee bar, the phrase “relaxing over a cup of coffee” is not an oxymoron.
Ok, so the 21st-century urban millennial cannot spare an entire afternoon of meaningful tete-á-tete. But even the few moments that can be shared in this manner connect younger generations of Tel Aviv to the city’s century-old roots. In fact, Tel Aviv coffee shops are almost as old as the city itself and have played an integral role in the development of its unique urban culture. (Occasionally, you can even find a photographic or other historical retrospective on this phenomenon.) It was the place where, for generations, plans were made, thoughts developed, philosophers were nourished, novels were born, works of art were conceived. From new immigrants to artists, poets, academics, officials, businessmen, and Bohemians (yesterday’s hipsters)—everyone had their own favorite gathering spot. And so it is today.
Of course for the true aficionado among Secret Tel Aviv’s readership, it’s all about the delight of the coffee experience…that incomparable aroma of freshly roasted beans…the sound of the espresso machine transforming black piles of sandlike substance into thick liquid ambrosia…the anticipation of the first sip of the day….ahhhhhhh…pure joy. Let the journey begin!