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Coffee cup in hand, so no need to go outside the strip

China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-10 09:27

GAZA-Mohammed al-Naffar, who lives in the blockaded Gaza Strip, has succeeded in spreading the world about Italian and Ethiopian coffee among Palestinian in the coastal enclave.

Al-Naffar, 28, a father of one, has opened a shop that sells more than 150 kinds of Italian and Ethiopian coffees.

He calls the shop Cupresso, a portmanteau of the words cup and espresso.

"Coffee is the most popular drink among Gazans," al-Naffar said as he prepared a cup of Italian coffee.

His customers are unfamiliar with the world's coffees, he said, so he opened the shop to provide them an opportunity to get to know them.

More than 150 kinds of Italian coffee are available now, he said, as well as more than 33 types of Arabica coffee.

Coffee is cultivated in more than 70 countries, arabica and robusta being the two most common. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed and dried. Dried coffee seeds are roasted in varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor.

Gaza markets used to sell only four types of coffee: robusta, Indian, Colombian and Brazilian, al-Naffar said.

"I'm so proud because I have brought more kinds to my people."

Although Israel maintains a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip that hampers most industries, coffee is unaffected, he says.

As Yasmin Ahmed, 24, was inspecting coffees in al-Naffar's shop she said: "People here can't give up coffee because it's part of their traditions."

She is keen to try all kinds of coffee in the blockaded strip, she said.

"Travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians prevent us from touching other cultures such as coffee. You get a great feeling when you drink either Italian or Ethiopian coffee."

In fact, it can be like visiting another country, she said.

She drinks at least five cups of coffee during a 12-hour work day, she said.

Like Ahmed, most other customers prefer "green coffee, especially Ethiopian", al-Naffar said, adding that it is delicious.

The average price is between $12 and $50 a kilogram, which suits most Palestinians, he said.

People in Gaza consume about seven tons of coffee a day, the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza said on International Coffee Day, Oct 1.


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