Competition is stiff in Israel's restaurant scene, and nowhere is this more apparent than in chain coffee shops. Israel's own home-grown coffee chains, designed to suit Israeli tastes, fiercely battle for market share, to the point where foreign chains can barely get a toe in the door – as Starbucks discovered when it flopped miserably and closed up shop in 2003. But there's an exception to every rule, and the American Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has established a healthy foothold in Israel – perhaps because its owners made sure the menu reflected Israeli tastes and religious mores (the restaurants are all kosher).
With its Jerusalem branch in the heart of downtown on Jaffa Road, pointedly across from a Cafe Hillel, Coffee Bean attracts a large following, made up of both Israelis and English-speaking students on a year abroad in Israel. The shop boasts an unprecedentedly large selection of tea drinks, its trademark Ice Blended and Chai Latte concoctions, and something fairly rare for Israel – American-style ice coffee (Israeli-style ice coffee is a sweet crushed-ice-and-coffee-syrup blend). The restaurant also serves light cafe food.
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