Gourmet Coffee in Israel is Expensive
Most Israelis drink either Turkish style coffee or bland instant agglomerated coffee. Filter coffee is something they serve in hotels, and supermarkets will usually stock an Italian brand of ground coffee for an exorbitant price. True filter coffee lovers must go to great lengths, and great expense, to find the right stuff for our daily caffeine fix(es).
The supermarkets near me carry Illa (Italian) ground coffee in 250g cans for approx 45 NIS, meaning the 1KG price is 180 NIS. (Roughly $22 for 1LB of premium ground coffee!!!). Sometimes you can find Elite brand ground, or Kroger’s imported from USA, and the prices are slightly less, but still way high for a chain-drinker. On the high end, gourmet coffee shops, such as The Coffee Bean (there’s a great shop in Herzlya Pituach), you’ll pay even higher prices.
Do It Yourself
There’s good news for those of us who relish the aroma of gourmet coffee, but can’t afford the high price tag. Do it yourself. Roasting your own beans is not only economical, it also produces some fine tasting coffee.
What you’ll need
– A big pot, 4 Liter or bigger.
– A coffee grinder. Buy it at a home shop. I bought a Graetz 8 years for about 120 NIS, and it works great.
– Green Coffee Beans. I buy them at a spices store in old Bet Shemesh. 1KG costs about 25 NIS. The store owners make call them “Ethiopian Coffee”, since the Ethiopian Jews in Israel like to roast their own coffee. A closer look at the huge burlap sack they come in will usually tell you the country of origin. I’ve seen Columbian beans and African as well. Remember, this is the same stuff you’d be paying 140 NIS KG or more if purchased at a coffee specialty shop.
How To Roast Your Beans
Open the windows in the kitchen and nearby rooms. If possible close the door to the kitchen. The roasting coffee beans emit a semi-nasty odor (which go away as the beans complete the roasting process).
Place the green coffee beans in the pot uncovered on a medium flame. I usually roast 1/2KG at a time. I ask the spice store to put the beans in 1/2KG bags so that they are ready for roasting.
Let the beans simmer in the pot – do not put any liquids in the pot whatsoever! After about 5 minutes you’ll start to hear crackling – that’s the first crack. Next, take a spoon or spatula and start stirring the pot, taking care not to burn yourself. You should start to notice the green beans in the pot are turning colors to that familiar java brown.
After another 5 minutes, while stirring, you’ll see most of the beans in the pot are brown and there will be more cracking sounds (the 2nd crack), but the color is still a light brown. Keep stirring, and after another 5 minutes or (15 minutes since start), you should see the healthy dark brown. and you’ll hear the third crack. There will be some smoke emitting from the beans. That is the signal to turn off the stove, remove the stirring spoon, and let the pot sit for about 15 minutes.
After about 15 minutes, carefully pour the beans into a colander. Take the beans preferably outside (I do this step in the garden). Shake the beans gently and watch as the chafe separates and flies away from the bean. After a minute of gentle shaking, you can take the beans back inside and either pour them into a container for later grinding, or start grinding now and drink a delicious and inexpensive cup of gourmet coffee.
This process is actually quite easy to do, and you’ll find you’re doing it as second nature after a couple runs.