On a chilly Jerusalem winter day, one of the best and coziest ways to experience the city is to enjoy a hot drink in a cafe. While there is no shortage of cafes in the city, the best places offer scenic views, comfortable seats, unique stories and rich warm drinks. Here are four different places, each with their own character, to indulge in treats from hot chocolate, to cider to sahlab, a Middle Eastern specialty made from the roots of orchid plants. Warm and creative winter cocktails are also increasingly showing up on Jerusalem menus.
Cafe Gan Sipur: A warm experience in the park
This glass-walled cafe in the city’s sprawling Gan Sacher Park offers a refuge from chilly weather without feeling removed from the outdoors. Surrounded by windows with baskets of plants hanging from the high ceiling, sitting here feels like sitting in the park. There is also a large deck with outdoor tables.
As far as winter drinks go, this is one of the best places for a modern twist of the class Middle Eastern sahlab, a thick pudding-like drink made from a powder based on the ground roots of orchid plants, plus warm milk and sweetened with sugar or honey. Gan Sipur offers several creative varieties of sahlab, including one topped with chocolate pralines, another topped with oreo cookies, and yet another with layers of strawberry jam and meringue. For those looking for an additional pick-me-up, there is a glass of sahlab spiked with a shot of espresso. The classics here are also extra-special, especially the hot chocolate, which can be topped with freshly whipped cream. Adding to the whimsical environment, all of the mugs are decorated with classic Hebrew poems, which you can read while sipping your drinks. Cafe Gan Sipur sits at the northern end of Gan Sacher Park, near the city’s government quarter and Cinema City.
The Coffee Mill:
Located on Emek Refaim in the heart of the Germany Colony, and just a short walk from the hotel, this is one of the best places for hot chocolate. An Israeli chocolate bar, known as mekupelet, is topped with warm milk, and then a layer of foamed milk. Other favorites are hot apple cider and the chai latte sprinkled with cinnamon. There is also a full menu of espresso-based drinks, including some with added alcohol like coffee liqueur. The wooden floors and walls pasted with old covers from the New Yorker Magazine, the cafe has a cozy and bookish feel. Sit at the bar along the windows for the best views of the street. This cafe can be a destinate of its own or a stop after a meal at one of the eateries on Emek Refaim, or after walking around the nearby historic Yemin Moshe neighborhood with its famous windmill. The cafe is located at 23 Emek Refaim Street.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: A classic urban cafe
This large and airy cafe on Jaffa Street is a classic urban setting for a big variety of hot drinks. With a large rounded interior, plus patio seating, there is plenty of room to spread out and find your own space. The large windows offer sweeping views of bustling Jaffa street, with the light rail train gliding by toward the Old City. The hot cider spiked with wine and filled with freshly chopped pieces of apples, and topped with cinnamon is one of the highlights. The hot chocolate, made from pieces of Belgian chocolate topped with warm milk, is a classic. And the hot vanilla is a unique twist on traditional hot chocolate. For those who are more restless, or eager to explore, this is a great place to grab a drink to go and sip it as you wander the city center. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is located at 34 Jaffa Street.
Power Coffee Works: A Bohemian refuge
On Agrippas Street near Mahane Yehuda market, this small cafe features a large coffee roaster, and an enveloping aroma of freshly roasted and ground beans. It also has one of the most creative coffee menus in the city. In addition to standards like espresso and lattes, made from freshly ground coffee from around the world, they also offer a homemade pumpkin spice latte. This drink starts with freshly mashed pumpkin blended with spices like cinnamon and cloves; then they add espresso and steamed milk, and, finally, a dusting of cinnamon on top. A number of other hot treats contain alcohol for an added burst of warmth.
The apple cider is spiced up with a drizzle of caramel and a shot of whiskey. And the Chai Baileys is made from freshly brewed spicy tea mixed with Irish cream liquor, and topped with extra cream. “We make everything here from scratch, we don’t rely on syrups or flavorings,” says Brandon Treger, an immigrant from South Africa who opened the place with his wife, Stephanie, in 2017. There is also always a pot full of warm red wine, mixed with cognac, oranges and spices waiting to be labeled into mugs. “This is a very European-inspired drink, and it creates a real warm and fuzzy feeling that’s great for winter,” Treger says. He credits Stephanie for the creativity in many of the hot drinks, saying he puts most of his energy into sourcing, roasting and preparing quality coffees. This small cafe also stands out for the eclectic crowd it attracts; a mix of secular and religious people that reflects the diverse character of the city. “This is really a place for everyone,” Treger says. “The conversations are real, the drinks are real.” Power Coffee Works is located at 111 Agrippas Street.
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