Finland’s love affair with coffee

Finland has an undeniable love affair with coffee. Their obsession with all things Food, Cooking and Culinary-related is mesmerising.

The average person in Finland consumes a total of 12kg of coffee a year. That equates to some 66 million tons of coffee beans for Finland per year. To put that into perspective, the next highest rate is 10 kg per person per year. You’d have thought that perhaps Italy or America would be tops, but they are 4kg per person and 6kg per person less.

Why is Finland coffee-mad? Is it because of the fact that the country is covered in snow and ice for 6 or more months per year? That could very well be one of the reasons. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that coffee – and not even speciality coffees such as cappuccinos and espressos – are huge anchors in Finnish culture.

Read about Finnish coffee on the Food, Cooking, Culinary section of Suomiarvostelut. The passion for the coffee bean runs deep in Finland. One such coffee retailer is called Kahvikaveri – read about this company and its products and services for more information.

Coffee – of course – warms up the Finns in their cold climate. The average Finn consumes 8 to 9 cups of coffee per day. And, in summer, iced coffees are the most popular drink. As we have mentioned, coffee is a cultural event in Finland: meeting for coffee is a large event and an important characteristic of Finnish culture. This is called “kakkukahvi” – you meet for coffee and cake (a sweet bun called “pulla” is usually served. There are thousands of coffee shops in Finland. Every corner has a coffee shop or a coffee stand. However, coffee is mostly consumed in-home: and it is lightly roasted filter coffee that is the national drink. Even at work, most companies operate 2 15-minute coffee breaks along with lunchtime.

Finns are only now beginning to experiment with speciality coffee types. They prefer their home-brewed coffees from drip filter coffee machines.

Coffee is a strong element of the Finnish lifestyle. They have a coffee for every occasion and an occasion for every coffee. “Aamukahvi” is morning coffee; “paiavakahvi” is day coffee; “iltakahvi” is evening coffee; “saunakahvi” is sauna coffee. They also have a “laksiaiskhavit” (a farewell coffee); “mitalikahvit” (medal coffee, to celebrate someone winning a medal in sport); “matkakahvi” (travelling coffee); and, “vaalikahvit” (is election coffee, that you have once you have voted in local and national elections).

The thing that most foreigners will find interesting about this coffee addiction is that Finns will meet at coffee shops or homes, and drink their coffees in total silence. That is totally normal and socially acceptable.

When you visit someone, they will immediately offer you coffee. It is considered rude to decline this coffee. As a guest in someone’s house, you will likely be the only one drinking coffee as the host will be tasked with keeping your coffee cup filled. When you ask for a ‘half cup’ of coffee, that is a sign to the host that they can drink coffee with you and that you won’t be having more coffee. Only once both parties have finished their coffee cups is it socially acceptable to leave the host’s home.