Gemma Farsi is the co-owner of the Brew Shop, along with Xoli Ormut-Durbinm who owns the ever-popular neighboring Xoho Cafe. While the two cafés may be sisters in relation, their personalities couldn’t be further apart. Xoho is the extrovert at the party, loud and with a splash of glitter. The Brew Shop, on the other hand, was purposely designed to have a ‘stripped down’ aesthetic, to get at the bare minimum design, so that all of the focus could be directed towards the coffee experience. Although the café doesn’t lack charm in this minimalist approach, the few, strong design elements complement one another so well and come off as a cozy, welcoming space.
Gemma, who is also the full time barista at the Brew, is steadfast in her devotion to serving only the top quality beans from the best roasting houses across Europe. They aren’t only using one roaster for their bean selection; since opening, they have served filter coffee from Berlin’s famous The Barn Roasters, the UK’s Has Bean Coffee, and even Good Life Coffee from Finland. Many in Tel Aviv may not be familiar with these names, but coffee devotees around the world know these roasters and their impeccable quality. The plan is to continue serving an assortment of coffee roasters and introducing them to the Brew’s growing customer base. The passion for quality at the Brew is infectious, and they will try and focus on a more direct trade with the roasters they serve. From the barista herself; “We try to use roasters that have direct trade with the farmers and I plan to use coffees that are 100% transparent, meaning, I want to know the name of the farm, the farmer, the varieties of bean, the processing of the bean (washed, pulped natural, natural) and the altitude the trees are grown at. That’s just information just from the farm. The roaster must also provide their roast date and roasting profile. My approach to coffee is that so much work has gone into getting those beans from the farm to the cup — it’s kind of the least we can do to pay attention to all those little details, and figure out how to absolutely best present all that work that has gone into it. If the roaster isn’t providing this information, I simply won’t work with them!”
The detail and thought put into every cup of coffee from the Brew doesn’t go unnoticed by customers. You can tell everything has been well thought out and the reward comes through tasting some of the best coffee in the world. This is the close bond between a coffee mirco-farmer, the specialty roaster, and coffee shop, from crop to cup.
Many have been offered samples of the cold brew on tap and have been compelled to return once the flavor of the coffee has had time to marinate on their palate. This is the unique aspect of filter coffee; it takes time, and it needs time. The brewing process for the filtered, hot coffee also takes time, but it is almost like watching a dance being performed behind the coffee bar, as Gemma goes through the steps of brewing the coffee. This is why the Brew Shop will succeed; it is a taste that sparks the interest in people’s minds.
Gemma is all about making her café open and accessible to everyone who is curious and willing to try something that may be outside their comfort zone. She is beyond knowledgeable in every facet of her work, and you cannot ask a silly question, nor find her anything but interested in helping share her love for the coffee she serves. Not only is she a true delight but also the resident dog, Gracie, who is always around to make your coffee tasting experience feel more like a home away from home.
Tel Aviv’s Third Wave coffee scene is in it’s beginning stages, and the Brew Shop Coffee café is definitely a pioneer, mapping this city’s layout in a wonderful fashion. Watch this space for brand new coffee beans to arrive from Bonanza in Berlin, White Label Coffee in Amsterdam, and from Has Bean in the upcoming weeks.