As business opportunities in coffee growing in Israel, indigenous people have accepted the modern coffee culture from the countries across the globe. If you roam the streets of Tel Aviv, you will see the youth crowded and enjoying their cuppa joe with their favorite food under the umbrellas placed outside. This would look like you have been on your surreal and walking in the streets of any Europe countries.
Well, this is about the modern coffee culture that has sprouted and trying to grow into big branches. On the other hand, love for ‘instant coffee’ of Israeli people can be seen on the shelves of the marts. Israeli coffee culture has been started before 1948 when it was declared as a State.
Back since those times, Israel has been importing coffee from the other countries. And despite this fact, the unique styling of their coffee brewing and preparation makes Israeli coffee outstanding. But the land and the location of Israel on the globe don’t make it the perfect land to cultivate coffee plants.
Coffee requires a tropical region with humidity to grow perfectly. In addition to that, most of the coffee producing regions fall under the bean belt. Because those regions experience frequent rains, more humidity, shaded sun, fertile lands which are essentials for growing coffee.
In contrast to it, neither of these climatic conditions favor Israel, nor does Israel is located in the bean belt i.e. from 25 degrees North latitude to 30 degrees South latitude. Well, someone has tried to bring coffee cultivation to Israel and what possible outcomes and impacts it can bring will be interesting.
Dr. Israel Gindel, born in Poland, and completed his education at the faculty of forestry in Warsaw University had envisioned the enormous coffee cultivation on Israeli land around the 1950s.
Gindel started to cultivate various strains of coffee as an experimental plantation, to let the plant adapt to the local subtropical conditions. Dr. Gindal also wrote a book “Coffee Growing in Israel” in 1959 where he also suggested local farmers to grow coffee on the Israeli soil for the learning experience.
The outcome was vague and one can’t guarantee the success of the coffee cultivation. Here is an excerpt from his book where he concluded his experience, “ At the end of the first stage of the coffee-growing experiment, the results cannot be described as perfect, especially if one takes into account that this exotic plant is still in the midst of an evolutionary process that has yet to reach a certain equilibrium among all the new climactic factors to which it is subject here. We should expect to find mutant strains in the plantations in Israel, and let us hope that successful mutant strains will also be discovered, as occurred with the Shamouti strain of citrus fruit.”
His neighbor and his fellow researcher Prof. Shimon Lavee said that he was quite obsessed with the thought of growing coffee in Israel. But again, as Lavee had said, “An avant-garde hobby like the acclimatization of coffee plants was not the top agenda for people of that era.” Even Gindal’s main research area was not based on some experiment, he was studying the Eucalyptus plant.
Reasons Why Gindal’s Vision Couldn’t Convert Into Commercialization
The letters from Gindal have been found in the institute’s archives. He was constantly writing and was deliberate to ask institute’s director for the funds to for his pioneer research of the coffee. There is one more excerpt from his book where it can be seen that he tried his best to see his vision become a reality,“The seeds that are imported to Israel are from inexpensive strains. Drinking the meager beverage that can be made from them causes dismay among those who know the flavor of fine coffee”
The first coffee plantation indeed yielded into a decent crop, but in the initial times of State’s, there was not enough water supply and the human resource available to commercialize the coffee cultivation.
Further, this coffee remnants went for the local researchers to research for and the commercialization of coffee was left out, no one cared, and forgotten. Well, some plants did make their way to gardens, the plants with evergreen leaves and red fruits and later they became popular as the ornamental shrubs with red cherries for decoration.
Someone Has Tried to Revive the Vision of Gindal
Mr. Ram Evgi, founder and the owner of Coffee-Tech company took the gauntlet to grow coffee on the Israeli land, on the fields of Moshav Matzliah on the Coastal Plain, two kilometers south of Ramle.
They had planted 30 trees of coffee 8 years ago and right after 3 years from planting them, the tiny orchard was filled with the white blossoms of coffee of different strains from different countries of the world.
To our surprise (If Gindal were alive, he would be the happiest person on the earth), Coffee-Tech succeeded in growing different strains of coffee from across the globe, especially the Golda strain of coffee which was developed by the Gindal. This local coffee strain is one of the subspecies of the famous coffee Arabica.
Ram had planted some coffee for himself in their orchard. He wanted to know more about what happens to the coffee before and after roasting it as he has mastered in roasting the coffee beans. His company sells unique coffee roasters and coffee machines worldwide and is a company with the high repute globally.
When he first brewed the coffee from the first crop, it was good! Just like the coffee aficionados would love it! It was an authentic Israeli coffee, brewed, roasted and grown in Israel! Mr. Ram succeeded in the mission of growing the Israeli coffee.
Why Growing Own Coffee Can Be a Game Changer for Israel
Coffee is the third most consumed beverage after water and tea. Additionally, coffee holds the second most vital commodity in international trade. First being the crude oil, it is commendable to have coffee at the second position looking at the usefulness of both the commodities in very different fields.
With the coffee culture getting stronger apparently, looking onto the 2016 stats, Israel has imported coffee of worth 123 million USD from many countries. Switzerland is the nation which supplies coffee the most to Israel i.e. 45% followed by Italy and Germany i.e. 22% and 3.1% respectively.
Astonishingly, Israel had exported coffee worth of 10 million USD to many countries out of which Palestine getting maximum share i.e. 57% of total exported coffee.
Coffee beans lose its character aroma and taste during transportation. It becomes crucial to consume all the coffee before a couple of months in order to experience nothing but the best of it. Considering the situation, where the coffee beans could get spoiled within a couple of weeks after roasting.
Coffee roasted and consumed fresh will have the benefits of the coffee intact. However, Israelis love the instant coffee which is not a similar concept in Western countries. They love to grind and brew their coffees keeping the freshness intact.
Israeli coffees are getting recognized for its phenomenal recipes especially the cardamom coffee, ‘Kafe Botz’, ‘Kafe Shachor’, and ‘Kafe Hafuch’. So, why not just think to grow own coffee which can shift the economy of Israel in a better way.
Coffee plantation and cultivation is possible. Commercialization of coffee is also possible. It might take a bunch of Ram Evgis to break the flow and do something better. However, coffee cultivation is not possible without the profound interest of non-compromising coffee drinkers, local farmers, researchers, and people like Ram and Iris Evgi. Israel can be a great example of breaking the chains and come on the forefront for its coffee.