See? Things aren't really all that different now, are they? Kansas City is nearly the exact middle of the United States and when I moved here 9 years ago the coffee scene was every bit as bleak as it sounds like it was in Ramat Gan. There were only two or three cafes doing any real quality work in town. Today, there are several and the demand for a higher quality product has gone up considerably. I used to own one of those quality minded cafes (we sold it about a year and a half ago) and like you said, we promoted the coffee itself above everything. We used to say that we specialized in coffee flavored coffee which is funny in American culture because many people order drinks that have so much syrup and other adulterants in it that you can hardly taste the coffee! While we did sell those drinks due to demand, we really focused on the smaller drinks that featured the taste of coffee most prominently.
When you get more cafes focused on the quality, people come to respect professionals baristas that much more when they go somewhere else and get a drink made by someone with skills that are not up to par. It makes them appreciate us more because they miss us as soon as they take a sip!
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