Aroma is the largest coffee retailer in Israel. The chain currently has 100 locations in Israel, including in the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in Jerusalem. All Israeli settlements built in the occupied territories are illegal, according to international law.
Aroma also has several cafés throughout Jerusalem on lands belonging to villages ethnically cleansed in 1948, such as Ayn Karim (Ein Karem). According to the UN Partition Plan of 1947, Ayn Karim was to be administered by an international body, as was all of Jerusalem and its environs. However, Jewish militias occupied the village on July 18, 1948, ethnically cleansing all of the original inhabitants. Today, Israeli Jewish settlers occupy most of the houses.
In 2006, Aroma co-owner Sahar Shefa apologized and agreed to pay NIS 100.000 ($23,000) to Mali Shalev after he was found guilty of racial slander against her. Shefa cursed at Shalev and shouted, “You see my skin color? I’m white and you’re black, I will screw you, this white guy is going to teach you a lesson, you are a black stain. You are a black and inferior woman. You are an idiot. You’re nothing and I make 800 dollars a minute.”
In 2006 Aroma went overseas, with its first international branch opening in New York City, where there are now three locations: 205 East 42nd Street, 161 West 72nd Street, and 145 Greene Street. The Greene Street Aroma has been the site of a number of protests in the last few years.
Aroma also operates in Toronto, Canada, and Kiev, Ukraine. Under the name “marrone rosso”, it does business in Constanta, Romania; Limassol, Cyprus; and Almaty, Kazakhstan.