Ordering a coffee in Israel: mastering the lingo!

how to order a coffee in IsraelOrdering and drinking a coffee isn’t quite as straightforward as it should be, thanks to the old language barrier… but we’re here to help you beginners out with some very handy tips to make sure you get the coffee you really want!

Cafes in Israel are the best place to sip on a coffee, and are definitely worth checking out for the experience. For the ultimate cafe experience, check out the incredibly strong cafe culture in Tel Aviv; it’s no accident Tel Aviv is now known as the cafe capital of the world.

There is an incredible mix of cafes to choose from (here are some of the best cafes in Tel Aviv): once you’ve settled on one, it’s time to start practicing your new lexicon of coffee terms…

First things first, ordering yourself “a coffee” will not result in the typical milky coffee you will have gotten back home. If you order a coffee you’ll get the Israeli version, a rich, black Turkish coffee. You might actually get to love those Turkish coffees (also known as botz, or mud!), but just be careful when first ordering. To get that milky coffee you’re after (the standard type, not the espresso/cappuccino style we’ll talk about below), you’ll want to order a Nescafe. Yes, yes, you’ll need to order a Nescafe (and no, Israeli coffee isn’t sponsored by Nestle’s Nescafe brand many of us know and love…) if you want a regular coffee.

Moving on to ordering an espresso, you’ll want to take the following in mind:

  • A “regular espresso” (espresso regil in Hebrew) will give you a short Italian style espresso.
  • A “long espresso” (espresso arokh in Hebrew) will give you what you probably know as a regular espresso.
  • A “double espresso” (espresso kaful in Hebrew) will give you a double regular espresso. Our chosen poison :-)

Ordering tips for other coffees:

  • An “americano” is what Americans will be familiar with as it has the same name in the US; in other words, an espresso “enhanced” with hot water.
  • A “cappuccino” (espresso hafukh in Hebrew) is the legendary coffee with hot frothy milk. You can order a big or small one, and don’t be surprised to see your barista’s artistic work in the froth at the top!
  • An “ice coffee” (ice cafe in Hebrew) is one of the very best ways to cool down in the hot summer months. If you need a coffee fix, and fancy something a little more creamy, even milk-shakey, an ice cafe could be your tipple. Almost rich enough to call a dessert…

These are the basics, and should be mastered by any coffee aficionado worth his milk and visiting the Holy Land for the first time…bear in mind there are a variety of other coffees to savor but these should see you through any visit to Israel. And if you ever get stuck, most cafes have pretty decent service, with waiters more than happy to help out a tourist in distress…

Read Scott’s great article about the woes of finding good coffee in Israel…not so easy!

6 Comments

  1. HASSAN NAWAZ

    October 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I think Israel is great.I love Israel.Thanks.

    • Ashley

      October 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Cool Hassan! We kind of like it too :-)

  2. Pingback: The land flowing with milk, honey, and coffee. | One of Many Members

  3. Matan

    August 1, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I’m sorry but some of the Hebrew translations you proposed here are not in use today or are wrong.

    • Ashley

      August 1, 2012 at 5:53 am

      Want to give me some examples?

      • Reut

        September 5, 2012 at 5:23 am

        A “cappuccino” is Cafe Hafukh and not espresso hafukh, as you suggested.

        Also, there is a difference between Nescafe Al Basis Chalav (milk based coffee) and Nescafe Al Basis Maim (water based coffee).

        One more thing, I don’t know how it works anywhere else, but an Americano does not come with milk here. You have to ask for it, and it is given on the side.

        Other than that – great article :) Coffee culture in Israel is actually very developed, and there are tons of great Cafes in Jerusalem as well!

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