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Which instant coffee is best in Israel–? (with handy Hebrew coffee vocabulary)


This being Sukkos, or as we say it in Israel, Sukkot, there’s probably one burning question on your mind: which instant coffee is best? Okay, it doesn’t actually have much to do with the holiday, except that I’m home and have a little bit of time on my hands.

The first thing you should know is that if you ask people what the best instant coffee is, people being what they are, you’re going to get a whole bunch who tell you that nothing will compare to REAL coffee. Which, depending on who you ask, is either brewed or cold-brewed or espresso’d or capsuled in a special machine or whatever.

So let’s just get that out of the way first. If you’re looking for REAL coffee, almost any coffee is probably fine as long as it’s fresh. You can go to a special roastery – everyone has one they swear by and I guess I will shout out to  Gabriel Coffee in Kiryat Motzkin for being a cute friendly shop that roasts coffee beans and grinds them nicely to whatever fineness you like (I have a French press, so coarse grind is important).

And if you’re one of those people who say, “Well, if you’re getting instant it’s going to be garbage anyway,” then I honestly wonder what you’re still doing reading this. I’ll give you a second to click away.

Okay, good. Now we’re alone.

But first, a terrible joke

Now that we’ve gotten rid of the drip-coffee and barista purists, let’s move on to a joke my ulpan teacher taught me that I still don’t understand: “When it comes to coffee… it’s either neis, or it’s botz!”

So the first part of this is neis. Which is the generic Israeli term for instant coffee, from Nescafe. Israelis love

this name because נס/neis means miracle, so it’s like your coffee is a miracle. That alone has created a huge Nescafe / Nespresso loyalty fan base here.

And the other part is בוץ/botz, which means mud I guess is the only kind of coffee that was available until the Miracle that is Nescafe came along? Honestly, I think I already said I don’t quite understand this joke.

But rest assured that when it comes to instant, there are plenty of Nescafe options – along with a confusing array of others.

What about ready to drink coffee?

By the way, one competitor to instant for people on the go is ready-made coffee. Lots of choices, though they come and go, and most of these I haven’t tried personally, because I’m always at home and it feels too lazy to have ready-made coffee. My husband does like to keep a stash of the Master Cafe ones handy for visitors and for when I take the train. It makes him feel like some kind of benevolent deity, I think, handing these out to our daughter and son-in-law.


When we went to Amsterdam in 2019, before the world came to a halt, we did avail ourselves of a number of the ready-to-drink coffee products that were listed on the kosher food list. Here is my husband with a tinned cappuccino, but they also had the kind in paper cups pictured above in the Israeli assortment. Note that we were only there for 3 days… but given the need to run around and get in as many tourist sites as possible, quite a bit of coffee was consumed relative to that length of stay! (Plus, they have Starbucks in Amsterdam.)


Obviously, all these coffees are cold. I have no idea what they’re like when they’re warmed up. And that’s mostly because – and I guess maybe I should have said this up front? -- when I say ‘coffee,’ I generally mean something ice-cold, which I know isn’t what most people mean by coffee. So there you are. I either whip it up dalgona-style or blender it with ice cubes and milk. So the flavour should be something that really shines in this type of application.

These days, when I am considering a product of any kind, I check reviews, usually on Amazon, or on iHerb, if I’m ordering from there. The more reviews, the better. But for Israeli products, by and large, there are no reviews. So, desperate for anything to go by, I asked for recommendations in the Israeli Foodies Facebook group.

Naturally, I received a wide range of responses… which I’ll share with you here and then let you know at the end what we eventually went with. Or, actually, I – because my husband has gone in a different direction altogether.

Handy Table of Instant Coffee Choices in Israel

Product Image


Comments from Facebook / Amazon reviews?



We have coffee at shul before davening on Shabbat morning, and the sponsor provides Jakobs brand granulated coffee, saying it is the only worthwhile instant coffee.

Jacobs is drinkable

My son likes Jacobs my husband likes Intenso.

Jacobs has very solid Amazon ratings, though it doesn’t seem to have the legions of die-hard fans of some of the other brands seen here.



Owned by Strauss which is the world's 6th largest coffee producer (with factories in Brazil)

Looks like Amazon buyers are CRAZY about this stuff. Hundreds of 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon and even buying it in 3-packs so they’ll never run out.



I like that one too.

that's what we drink also

I like it too.

We are very picky, and we really like Cafe Barzilay from Elite.

Amazon buyers are not quite as convinced of the quality of this one.



We enjoy tasters choice

Taster's Choice Barista!!!!

Another vote for Taster's Choice Barista

I couldn’t pull up Amazon reviews for this because the branding and flavour ranges seem very different in the U.S.



My wife swears by Davidoff Full Aroma. (Which also has pretty decent Amazon reviews and 3-packs…)

Obviously, this list is far from comprehensive, but I hope it serves as a decent starting point, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments about which instant coffee you call your own.

Oh – and the solution I ultimately went with is… drumroll…



That was well over a year ago, and this coffee still seems to be doing the job and turning out nice cold and blended coffee beverages. I’m still open, but one reason for doing this whole rigmarole was to reduce my dependence on the ultra-expensive Starbucks VIA Instant packets that we were having family members send us from Canada. So my Sbux consumption has gone down basically to zero.


My husband wasn’t willing to go quite that far, so he sought an Israeli hybrid that would let him spread out the Starbucks wealth and make it last longer, I guess…? So these days, he’s mixing his Sbux with these Jacobs packets, giving him that frothy-coffee joy. Which, I’ll add, he only indulges in once a week on Fridays, to give him the energy to get ready for YET ANOTHER Shabbat. :-)


We also discovered while we were in Canada this year that Starbucks instant is now available in canister form… so if you like that kind of thing, you can now get it a little less wastefully than throwing away all those packets (and more conveniently for Shabbos use!).



So that’s where we’re at right now.

Neis Kafay: Helpful Hebrew Coffee Vocabulary

File:Moka Pezzetti per alimenti 09.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsWhile we’re on the subject of coffee – mostly instant, but not just, here’s some super-helpful Hebrew coffee vocabulary to get you started. Stuff I wish people had told me – and more:

  • Coffee = קפה / kafay, like the way the French say it.
  • Coffee shop = בית קפה / beit kafay
  • Iced coffee = coffee with ice in it, NOT blended coffee = קפה קר / kafay kar
  • Slushy icy coffee mixture, usually from a machine = אייס קפה / ice kafay
  • Espresso / latte (hot) = הפוך / hafooch, though coffee purists will say it’s upside down, just as the name literally means, and that with a latte the milk goes in first, not on top. No, it’s not the same, just order it and be content.
  • Regular coffee aka drip coffee = פילטר / filter. Just like it sounds. This is your classic Melitta drip machine with a… filter.
  • Hand drip coffee = דריפ / drip. I’m pretty sure that’s what this is called in English. It’s kind of a small-batch coffee with a little filter placed over the cup.
  • Moka pot = מקינטה / makinata. These are those little Italian gadgets (often by Bialetti) that sit on the stove top and, according to Italians, make the world’s best coffee (Image © Coyau via Wikimedia)
  • French press = פרנץ’ פרס / French press. I have never seen or heard these called anything else. Makes things easy!!
  • Instant coffee = נמס / names, which literally means “melted” or “melting.” (Cup o’ Soup type products are also known as נמס for this reason)
  • Coffee beans = פולי קפה / foolay kafay. Fool is the general middle-eastern term for beans of many different kinds, including פול/ fool by itself, which is fava beans, and פולי קקאו / foolay kakao, which is cocoa beans. So be sure to order the right kind!
  • Ground coffee = קפה טחון / kafay tachoon. Tachoon is the same as in the word techina aka tahini, and in fact, when you want to specify HOW ground your coffee should be, you say:
    • טחינה גסה / techina gassa = coarse ground, i.e. for French press machines
    • טחינה בינונית / techina beinonit = medium ground, i.e. for filter / drip
    • טחינה דקה / techina daka = fine ground, i.e. for espresso, moka pot and other specialized machines

(Have I missed anything? I’d love to expand this list with terms you’ve found helpful!!)

By the way, in case you’re ever in Aroma—a ubiquitous chain that I don’t like, in part because most of their stores aren’t kosher—all coffee-type terminology goes out the window because they call their stuff Ice Aroma or whatever. Here’s how much I don’t like Aroma. There are a few in Toronto, including one which opened up a few years ago which is actually kosher (yay!). So I reluctantly agreed to meet someone there and got the Ice Aroma or whatever. And it was the exact same overly-sweet, chemically taste that I didn’t like from here in Israel.  So these days I avoid the Toronto one as well…

I think I’ve also mentioned on here – good luck getting anyone to add anything chocolatey or any of the other flavours and syrups you may be used to having in your coffee elsewhere. Here, it’s like the Model T, you can have your coffee in any flavour you like as long as it’s coffee-flavoured.

So again – whichever coffee you love, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


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