An in­stant hit with the Is­raelis


YO U H A V E p r o b a b l y walked past the prod­uct a thou­sand times in your lo­cal kosher store, thought noth­ing of it, and never been tempted by it. Af­ter all, with fancy jars and espresso pods on the shelf, who buys coffee in a 1970s-style tin any­more?

It is not only the pack­ag­ing of the trade­mark in­stant coffee made by Is­rael-based Elite that is unas­sum­ing. The taste is, well, far from gourmet. It is bland and lacks the clas­sic coffee aroma — its clos­est English equiv­a­lent be­ing Mel­low Birds — but it has a cult­like ap­peal. Wel­come to the big­gest Is­raeli culi­nary phe­nom­e­non that you have never both­ered to taste.

If you were liv­ing not in the UK but in Poland, the Czech Re­pub­lic or Ro­ma­nia, you would not be giv­ing a blank look right now, but rather the kind of fond re­ac­tion that a Brit gives when some­one starts talk­ing about Dairy Milk, Salt ’n’ Shake crisps or, of you are from the half of the pop­u­la­tion that loves it, Mar­mite.

Af­ter the Soviet Union fell and for­eign prod­ucts started com­ing into the for­mer com­mu­nist bloc, Elite in­stant coffee was one of the first and, to many peo­ple from th­ese ar­eas in their early

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