The Miracle of NesCafe... (coffee cup aliyah)

In the US, I wasn't exactly a coffee snob, but I liked my fresh ground coffee dripping into my cup every morning. And maybe a few times each morning. And maybe with peppermint-flavored coffee creamer thrown in for good luck.

When I first arrived in Israel, in fact, ground coffee was one of the things I desperately missed-- I didn't feel the right buzz from instant coffee, which is all that was available in my husband's aunt and uncle's house. My husband earned huge points when he found me a French press in a department store, and I started preparing Turkish coffee in a French press every morning. It wasn't quite fresh drip, but it was pretty good. Already, though, my slippery slope into Israeli coffee drinking had begun-- for some reason, Turkish coffee tastes better without milk (but with plenty of sugar). For the first time in my life, I started to drink my coffee black.

Then I broke the glass part of the French press, so I started making Turkish coffee the Israeli way-- heating up the grounds in a little finjan (a saucepan, basically) on the stove. Ok, it wasn't totally authentic, because I wouldn't cool down my coffee and reheat it several times until it had truly become black sludge. But I used enough grounds that my coffee could still corrode metal.

Then I decided that maybe it WASN'T such a good thing that my hands were shaking for hours after my morning cup-- or two-- of Turkish coffee. I also decided that Turkish coffee is a huge pain to clean up, because rather than be filtered out, the grounds collect in the bottom of the finjan, the cup, and (of course) my sink when I tried to clean everything out.

So finally... somehow... I have become an instant coffee drinker, like most Israelis. In fact, you can go to coffee shops and order Nescafe (or in more generic terms, cafe namess). Somehow, this country of caffeine addicts subsists on expensive espresso and instant coffee with very little in between. So here I am, on the watery and light side (until I add in that extra spoonful of instant coffee granules, and plenty of milk and sugar)... maybe I really have become Israeli!

Oh, a word to the wise: if you want to order a latte equivalent in an Israeli coffee shop, it's called a "cafe hafooch"-- an upside-down coffee. I was mystified about this at first and used to just order whatever the person ahead of me in line had ordered. **Update-- Miriam offers a convincing explanation in the comments of why "cafe hafooch" is called what it is! **

What War Zone???, a hilarious blog about life as an oleh, is hosting Havel Havelim this week. (Actually, technically Benji is hosting. As far as I know, his blog doesn't spontaneously generate its own content. Although that would be cool.) Check it out!


  1. Cafe Hafooch got its name not b/c of being upside down but b/c of the word hafooch itself, meaning opposite- they use more milk than coffee in a cafe hafooch, so it;s the "opposite" of a regular coffee which uses more coffe than milk That's how an Israeli once explained it to me.

  2. Thanks for the explanation! I couldn't figure it out!

  3. Haha, I'll just stick to my 'te im nana' :-).

    Ima in America

  4. I always thought it was "hafuch" because they pour the milk in first, then the coffee...

  5. for the first time in my life i find myself craving black turkish coffee with sugar instead of the dreaded cafe hag with sucrazit and milk. that's at home.

    when i go out i still hold out for a good cup of american style coffee - though i haven't had a good cup of american style coffee since i left america. i do keep trying - i order the americano coffee in every cafe just in case i've stumbled on the real deal!

  6. You are now drinking Miracle Coffee ;)
    And about the Café Hafooch it's the same in Dutch (Koffie verkeerd) so it sound so familiar to me and I directly understood the name that the Israelis use, we use also the French name 'Lait Russe' which means "Russian milk" they don't use that name in Israel for a Latte, by French speaking immigrants??? PS: I love your blog, I hope one day come visiting Israel and with all your advices and stories about the Israeli life, I will be prepared! :D


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