The Coffizz/Coffix Conundrum

By Rafi Kleiman
So far, 5778 has been an eventful year where major contemporary issues hitting Israeli society have come to the forefront. We’re talking the African migrant crisis. We’re talking the ongoing pricing-out of Israelis from affordable housing . However, none of the above have anything close to the discussion tearing apart families, friends, and many, many, many WhatsApp groups…
Yes, you’ve guessed it. It’s the Coffix/Coffizz Machloket!

2 siblings (though certainly not twins from birth contrary to wide conception), battling it out for the pride of the Medina. They have similar character traits; some extremely positive, some rather the opposite. Yet, who deserves the ultimate Shidduch? That is indeed the Shidduch of the Post-High School Gap Year participant.
Does it lie in the hands of the red villains on Rechov Tifferet Yisrael* or in the grasp of the first ‘cheap lunch imperialists’, sitting comfortably at the top of Chabad*?
Let’s find out:
(N.B. Please note these conclusions are borne out of the skewed opinions of a Yeshiva Bochur that only religiously attends one branch of each chain. Or in Yeshivish terms – ‘Maskanot L’shaim banter’)
1. Service
This is a fascinating one. The faces of each chain are both wonderfully-pleasant Mizrahi males that serve epicly. And at pace. Like hardcore pace. Chief Coffizz worker – has his chocolate croissants and ice coffees in and out of the respective machines in less than 15 seconds. Hugely popular with that Yeshiva/Sem student who wants to ‘mevatel their Torah’ (or alternatively, ‘procrastinate a touch’) in between Chevruta and Shiur. This is admittedly reciprocated by our beloved Coffix worker who toils upon his counter to the extent that one ponders to himself/herself -‘hey, is he really serving me for the sake of reward or not serving me for the sake of reward?’**
This sentiment is further extended by the conspicuous-looking ‘Tip Cups’ beside him – 2 cups split by gender (one for boys, one for girls) under the question, ‘Who beter is?’. Despite the super-speedy service, perhaps I’m satisfied to allow the girls the victory on this occasion.
With this in mind, along with the infamously-packed crowds which bombard Coffix branches around the nation, limiting the development of a worker-customer kesher, Coffizz may edge it a tad for service. Big up Naftali at Coffizz! Great guy, great guy…
2. Halacha
Yep, it’s happening. Halacha has historically been the champion of solving these debates (N.B. See ‘Medina Kosher vs. Medinoh Traif’ & ‘Yom Ha’Atzmaut vs. Yoym Ha’Atzmashmutz’ for further details). Thus, we shall implement the don that is contemporary Jewish law here. Put simply, Coffix ‘chap’.
A) That continuous ‘Eitan Katz: Live in the Jerusalem’ Album played in the back. What a move. As I speak, their counterparts down the road continue to blare out their less Yeshivish radio music. Meh.
B) Kitniyottt. Big Shkoach to the ‘X’s’ for not only labelling Kitniyot and ‘Kitni-not’ (so to speak) but further, actually having ‘Kitni-not’ products in stock during Pesach! Thank you 🙂
Unfortunately, the ‘Z’s’ fall behind at this major hurdle although admittedly, no ‘Ma’arat Ayin’ (‘no hate’). It’s just bonus points for Coffix.
C) Now this one is a debate. But I’ll raise it anyway. Coffizz now have a marvellously indi ‘stamp card’ system which sees a customer requiring 10 stamps (1 stamp = one paid Coffizz item) to receive a free Coffizz on the house. Naww how nice. Aval! Halachic discourse on Chol Hamoed Pesach contains a discussion regarding drawing/writing during the Intermediate Days of the Chag. Many hold that drawing/writing is forbidden on these days, thus potentially extending to use of stamps too…
Uh oh. It’s a bad day at the office for the Fizzers. (Although practically speaking, it may not be an issue and I’m just being uber-Yeshiva guy…)
Coffix for the win on the Halachic front!!
So it’s one-one. A tie-break is required. And there’s only one area of contestion that these two powerhouses shall duel upon…
3. PRICE.
*chuckle*. Time to get roasted along with those cheese toasties dear chains.
First rule of thumb, for anything, is consistency. Right?
And at first, both chains thrived upon this virtue. And Kudos to them.
The Coffix ‘5 shek’ connotation was viral – so much so that the Coffizz-nik’s followed suit. Yet, the mistake took place. The rise to each item being 6 shekel changed everything. Then it got worse. The sheep at the Coffizz shack played copycat. And the 5 shek shebang went out the window completely!
From that moment on, each Israeli has had to unnecessarily carry an extra 1 shekel coin in their pocket for all foreseeable future. Completely changing the game.
Now yes, Teshuva has been done since (partially). Coffix have some strange 5/8 shek arrangement whereas Coffizz have been very consistent with their 6 shek policy. But – these initial decisions were critical. Gutting. A true ‘Chaval’ (Ivrit for ‘shame’).
So it is with that deja vu feeling of betrayal that I will betray both chains by not concluding with a winner. Sorry folks.
It’s a draw!!***
The moral of this conundrum journey is simple. Israeli culture is a multi-layer cake. Within that culture, so much to discuss! And perhaps as shown by our Tiyul, there may be even too much to discuss! This makes Israelis an awesome collection of people – there’s so much that drives them and it is perhaps this drive that we, as Anglo-Jews, need to take a moment to embrace and admire. We need this passion – for it is this which makes our Judaism warm and vibrant . Our Israeli friends have it, let’s grab a bit of that too.
May we all merit to witness ‘Costa-Starbucks: The British Yids’ Coffee Debate’ speedily in our days (Wait-For-Moshiach permitting)!
Yom Haatzmaut Sameach!
* along with many, many other chains around the country
** Avot 1:3
*** Tayku.

 

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