When Cofix came onto the Israeli food scene in 2013, it changed the coffee game. The business model was simple: offer a variety of coffees, other beverages (fresh juices, bottled sodas), and snack-sized foods, all for a uniform price of 5 shekel per item (Israeli shekels come in a 5-er denomination). And, it worked. Israelis became enamored with the idea that they could squeeze into one of Cofix's comically narrow kiosks, and leave with something quick and fortifying.
Locations rapidly spread to an increasing amount of street corners around the country. Then came Super-Cofix, a 5-shekel based *grocery store* (aka the best thing ever). There even emerged a competing copycat company, "Cofizz". It was a cheap coffee revolution, and we would be able to tell our children and grandchildren that we were there for it. And you could buy the lucky item of the week, like a baking tray for 5 shekels, or the clips for hanging your laundry. Good deal!
Within this caffeine utopia were many who wondered if it was too good to be true.
The Cofix bubble burst in February 2017 , along with my deep enthusiasm for this concept, when Cofix announced an increase of price to 6 shekel per item. Gasp! Fans of the chain throughout the country reacted with expected disappointment. It may sound silly, but the joy of using one coin (or even a 10 shekel coin and getting TWO things!), felt really empowering. Paying 6 shekels means you either need to find that extra shekel coin or you pay with a 10 and get 4 coins back. Feels different in your pocket.
The difference wasn't just that superficial (though trust me, lots of coins in your pocket is less fun), there was also the question of value. Often in line at Cofix were purchasers that may not otherwise be able to enjoy the luxury of purchasing fresh, warm food out. This allowed a much larger breadth of the population to grab that extra snack, warm soup, and even hamin and challah before Shabbat!
Luckily, the uproar around the change was enough for Cofix to realize the error in their ways. Recently (December 2017), Cofix announced their switch to a two-tiered pricing system, wherein larger 6-8 sizes will be sold alongside the smaller 5 shekel sizes. Okay, that's a fair solution.
On its face, an increase of one or two shekels (about 25-50 cents U.S) appears minimal, superfluous even. And yet, it seems to me that beyond its affordability, the real magic of the original Cofix was in its complete and utter mindlessness. In chaotic Israel, the chain offered the beautiful simplicity of "Give a coin, get a thing". No size choice, no thoughts. It was like a Zen koan come true. Will the introduction of choices and uneven change ruin Cofix's Zen? Perhaps. Other customers may relish the opportunity to buy larger coffees and more meal-sized foods. Either way, it looks like Cofix as an Israeli coffee institution is here to stay.