Meet the Host: Community fuzes with speciality coffee at Cafe Nahat
The big picture
Dan Urieli, 44, had been in the coffee world for over 20 years before he opened his own cafe. “I always said you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to do that – and then I did it in 2015 with Asaf Biton,” he chuckles. His vision was to become a leader in the coffee industry in Israel in both quality and innovation. He wanted to bring the “third wave” of coffee to Israel, with exclusively sourced, locally roasted coffees that had more complex flavors. “I was inspired by specialty coffee places in Seattle, Berlin, New York, and London. I wanted to bring something similar to Tel Aviv,” he says.
In addition to the great coffee, for Dan, Cafe Nahat is all about hospitality. “We don’t provide service - we offer hospitality,” he explains. “Customer service is reactive. Hospitality is proactive. Just like you would welcome a guest in your home, so do we cater to our patrons. So, for example, if a pregnant guest comes in during the hot Tel Aviv summer, we have a glass of cold water ready for her before she even realizes that she’s thirsty.”
Cafe Nahat was one of the first to join anywell’s hospitality network.
“The entire concept of work today – headphones, Zoom, and screens – is very cold. anywell makes it a “warmer.” I think of anywell as a “warm technology” company,” Dan comments. “anywell Members who come to Cafe Nahat feel very much like a part of our community: we have three waitstaff dedicated to anywell, so not only do we know the members by name, we know who they are: we know that they’re looking for a babysitter, we know they have a new dog. It’s the basis of a human connection.”
Cafe Nahat has two locations: one in the bustling Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv and one in Herzliya, in a cultural center. “It’s really quiet in our Herzliya branch, so it’s a great working environment. And working with anywell brings me traffic. We’re located inside a building, so we’re easy to miss. anywell gives Cafe Nahat exposure because members invite guests. It gives us stability, not only financially but also with inventory and tips.
Nahat means pleasure or satisfaction in Hebrew. True to its name, Cafe Nahat’s motto is that there should be pleasure at every link in the chain: from the local farmer harvesting coffee to the coffee shop staff and down to the customer. “If I’m serving great coffee to a customer who is really enjoying it, then I experience pleasure. If the farmer doing the hard physical work weren’t paid fairly, I wouldn’t sleep well at night. Whatever I do, I do it with love.”
Cafe Nahat: The essentials
Cafe Nahat is part of the third wave of coffee: they import their own coffee from fair trade farms, independently do the roasting, and are involved in social projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Brazil, and Guatemala. The result? Better and more complex flavors and a clear conscience in a famously exploitative industry.
Cafe Nahat is all about specialty coffee for the coffee connoisseur.
Tips for setting up a workspace
“Treat customers like dinner guests at your home. My staff knows our customers by name, and they form a personal emotional connection with guests. They’re proactive, addressing needs before the customer is even aware of them.”
The Herzliya location offers a lot of quiet seating that’s great for meetings and collaboration.
Sum it up in a sentence
Do good and drink well – exclusive coffee combined with social responsibility.
Soul and spice
Cafe Nahat buys and imports some of the coffee directly, and Dan knows the growers personally. The business also supported schools in the coffee grower’s communities in Ethiopia and Kenya, and collaborates in carbon offsetting projects in Brazil.
In Israel, he donates coffee to an NGO called “Home Base,” dedicated to rehabilitating the homeless. At the height of the pandemic 2020, Cafe Nahat donated delicious cups of coffee to the exhausted staff at the Tel Aviv Medical Center.
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