About Finland

Finnish coffee culture – Lifecycle of coffee addicted Finns

If there are two things that are sacred to us Finns, they must be sauna and coffee (not combined, though). Coffee belongs to most of the situations in a Finn’s life. Whether it’s about joy or sorrow,ย home or work, spending time with family and friends, waiting for the bus, sitting by a campfire or a first date – there has to be coffee. As we all know, communication between us Finns isn’t our strongest part. So whenever we get into a difficult or awkward situation, it’s always handy to have a cup of coffee nearby. Taking a sip from your mug is a great way to fill a silent moment, and gives you a second to think of your next line.

The average amount of coffee consumption per Finn is 2,64 cups a day. That makes altogether 9,6 kg’s of coffee beans per year. But how do we even have the time to drink this much coffee, one might ask?

One thing that definitely helps, is that all people in working life are blessed with legal coffee breaks here in Finland. It’s common that one can have two 10 minute coffee breaks a day, in addition to a half-an-hour lunch break. This means most of us drink coffee about three times during the work day, since most of the lunch restaurants include a free cup of coffee when purchasing a lunch.

In Finland we also have this thing called santsikuppi, which means that in many places when you buy a cup of coffee, you can have a free second fill. One coffee place in Helsinki is particularly famous for their santsikuppiย policy. In Cafe Regatta they give you 5 cents back for each santsikuppi you drink. This, if anything, is a good example of Finnish customer service at its best, and servers well us coffee drinking nuts!

In fact, we have a theory that the coffee addiction we nowadays have here in Finland, is due to our history. Coffee drinking hasn’t always been this easy in Finland, since the Second World War almost ended Finnish coffee culture. During those years of war, at first coffee was regulated and at some point it simply wasn’t available at all. But luckily us Finns have always been inventive, especially when it comes to coffee, and so we created a coffee substitute. This substitute was for example made of grain, pine bark, sugar beet, potato peel or beetroot – so basically the ingredients were anything you can imagine. We don’t know about the taste, but can imagine that it wasn’t quite like the original product.

The arrival of the first shipment of coffee after the war yearsย in 1946, was a huge event in the Turku harbor. People gathered to witness when ship Herakles floated to the dock, full of long awaited coffee beans.

So when a baby is born, we drink coffee. When our kids end their school year or graduate, we drink coffee. When one gets a promotion, we drink coffee. When your best friend gets married, we drink coffee. When someone gets divorced, we drink coffee (and mix some strong alcohol like Jaloviina in it). When kids play and set an imaginery coffee table to their friends, moms drink coffee. When supermarkets put coffee on promotion, we queue to stock up our coffee storage so that we can drink coffee.

As you can imagine by now, coffee truly plays a significant part in our daily lives. Many people say they can’t properly start their day if they haven’t had their morning coffee. For those coffee drinkers who also want to enjoy this nectar of life in the evening, there is of course de-caffeinated coffee. This is a good way to ensure you can have both coffee and a good night’s sleep.

So the next time you have a cup of coffee with your Finnish friend, observe how their nostrils vibrate as they smell the fresh coffee, and eyes fill with happiness when they raise the mug to meet their lips. While having a casual conversation over a cup of coffee, you might even want to surprise your friend with some trivia you just learned from this blog post.

Oh, it’s coffee-o’clock! Until next time folks!

PS. Approximately four cups of coffee per person were consumed while creating this blog post.

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Pirjo Skopa
    October 7, 2017 at 9:05 am

    This is fantastic blog also for us Finnish people! Much knowledge, nice pictures, good humour and perfect English language!
    That’s why i just love to read this.
    Congratulations girls. You do such a wonderful job. Hope you shall win this category. Thanks for a gorgeous blog.

    • Reply
      Rimma
      October 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Thank you Pirjo for your kind words!

  • Reply
    David Koski
    October 16, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    This is new to me and I heard about it from the generation older than I that were remembering the parents and grandparents from Finland and settled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Below was what I found googling.

    “But before you reach for the sugar bowl be warned, sugar only comes in cubes on a Finnish table and they are not for going in your cup. If at all confused watch the eldest person at the table and do as they do. First pour some of your coffee onto your saucer. Next grip the sugar cube between your front teeth, raise the saucer to your lips and suck the coffee through the sugar. When empty refill your saucer and repeat.”

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/the-black-art-of-coffee-drinking-852766

    • Reply
      Rimma
      October 19, 2017 at 10:48 am

      Haha that is actually so true! I’ve seen this happening with elderly people, but it’s not a common sight at all! Thank you for pointing this out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    giovana vitola
    October 16, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    HI Girls,

    I can’t tell you enough how much I love your blog. It makes me want to move to Finland like NOW.

    My husband and I are trying to decide where to live, and Finland is actually an option. We have our 4 years old too and the education in Finland seems just perfect for my standards: more playing, taking it easy, and still learning a lot, including so many languages. How do you guys do that?? Is it all true?

    Cheers,
    Gio

    • Reply
      Rimma
      October 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Oh really? I’m so glad to hear! And yes – it is all true! Finland’s education system is one of the best’s in the whole world! My son is almost 3 years now, so I kind of understand what you are dealing with ๐Ÿ™‚ Come here! Finland is amazing!

      • Reply
        giovana
        October 22, 2017 at 5:35 pm

        HI Rimma, thanks heaps!
        We are going to spend December in Helsink to see how we deal with the winter. We arrive on December 3rd.
        Then I want to visit a school there. If you have a suggestion, let me know, please.
        Lets have a cofee if you are around?
        Many thanks!

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