One of the relentless habits of the Finns is drinking coffee. It is not farfetched to talk about Finnish coffee culture, which manifests itself in the large number of new and old cafés in small towns and big cities as well as in the constant reference to coffee in everyday social interactions. It is common to meet friends for coffee, offer a cup of coffee when friends drop by, and traditionally you would also bring a package of coffee as a gift when visiting friends or relatives. This well-established tradition appears also in Finnish legislation making Finland a country where a coffee break is one of the rights granted to every working person.
Finns are known to drink coffee in large quantities. For example, it was estimated that in 2010 they consumed about ten kilos of coffee per person. Brazil, Columbia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Kenya are the biggest importers of coffee (for more statistics, click here). It has been calculated that a Finn, in average, drinks about four cups of coffee every single day. Usually you would have a ‘pulla’ or a ‘korvapuusti’ pastry with your coffee during a coffee break at work, which you would take either in the morning around 10am or in the afternoon around 3:00pm.
This social custom of drinking cups and cups of coffee during a typical Finnish day is clearly noticeable in Helsinki where new trendy cafés are continuously popping up next to more sophisticated established coffee houses. Among the new attractions that bring color to the streets of the Finnish capital and set new trends for local coffee culture could be named Brooklyn Café, a taste of New York, where you can choose between espressos and cappuccinos or more traditional Finnish coffees. With your steaming hot beverage you can taste their mouthwatering muffins, brownies or fresh bagels with cream cheese. This small, cozy, informal place with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere is located on Fredrikinkatu 19, a part of Helsinki that is fun to explore.
Another quite cute café is right in the heart of Helsinki, next door to the famous Stockmann department store. La Torrefazione (Aleksanterinkatu 50) has a Mediterranean flavor as their selection includes Italian coffees and croissants.
On Bulevardi you can stop in for a cup of coffee at Café Ekberg, founded in 1850. It represents the traditional Finnish coffee culture at its best. It still has the charm of the nineteenth century, that touch of style and class associated with sipping coffee in a nineteenth-century à la mode place. Their pastries are out of this world; delicious, high-quality, petite delicacies. They also serve light lunches. You find them on the fashionable boulevard Bulevardi at number 9.
When visiting Helsinki, you will not want to miss Café Ursula in Kaivopuisto area, right by the sea. It was founded at the time of the 1952 Olympic games that were organized in Helsinki. On their outside terrace you can enjoy the sun, the sea, and the superb Finnish summer. After your coffee, take a relaxing walk in the Kaivopuisto park or along Huvilakatu, one of the charming streets of old Helsinki.