It says something about the stubbornness of Jerusalem's coffee drinkers that Starbucks has, not for want of trying, totally failed to penetrate the city. Howard Schulz, chairman of that most global of companies, is well known for his passionately pro-Israel views. But this has cut no ice with Israelis in Jewish West Jerusalem. In the past 15 years or so - after a long, bleak period when Nescafé and a muddy concoction that constituted the Israeli version of Turkish coffee were all that was available - the city has spawned an excellent home-grown espresso bar culture. In a short stretch of Emek Refaim, the main street of the German colony, there are half a dozen first-rate cafés, each with its own distinctive character. Clients frequently spend the entire morning there working on their laptops. One, Aroma, is even open on Saturdays, when it is always packed. (My favourite in East Jerusalem is the elegant El Dorado, which gives you a chocolate with your Arabic coffee or espresso and where the orange juice is always freshly squeezed.) Who needs Starbucks?Who needs Starbucks indeed?
November 13, 2005
Israelis boycott Starbucks
A rare piece of good news from Israel. Apparently Starbucks is struggling to break even in west Jerusalem because of the competition from east Jerusalem. Something like that anyway. Here's the Independent's Donald Macintyre: