As the third thing to do in Finland, I present you COFFEE BREAKS.
Yes, it is a mundane, everyday habit all over the world, but in Finland it is agreed, at least in people’s minds, that coffee breaks are statutory. So, if you ever visit our fair country, remember the constant coffee breaks!
At the moment, the whole nation is in upheaval: Finland’s economical prospects seem dire, and the top politicians are presenting a lot of new proposals reducing the benefits of the less fortunate in life. Media throws mud here and there, social media follows suit with some smellier brown stuff. Cuts, cuts, cuts, Finns should be tightening their belts, Finns should be working more hours for less money, and Finns should not get sick-days off for nothing! But no one, no one, has had the guts to touch our coffee breaks. That would be the last drop.
Coffee is a sacred institution in Finland – so much so that some of us travel abroad bringing our own coffee supplies with us. That is one heavy luggage we have to carry, as we drink 12 kg of coffee per capita per year – about the same amount as the French and Italians combined.
In Finland, the ultimate rudeness is not to offer coffee for a guest, and mind you, when you visit Finland and are invited for a coffee at someone’s home, you are in: you are in the circles of tight friendship, and will be till the end of your days whether you like it or not.
There are different types of coffees you can have in Finland – and I don’t mean whether the coffee is single origin, cold brew, has too foamy foam or is extracted by the barista of the year. No, I mean that there are different ways to enjoy your coffee: there is the pannukahvi enjoyed at summer cottages, the torikahvi of market squares, the kahvipöytäkahvi which means that the host has taken out the best crockery and cakes for your enjoyment, the työpaikkakahvi enjoyed at the work place, saunakahvi after sauna… and so on: we have as many words for describing coffee moments as the Eskimos have for snow.
So, enjoy: however you wish to have your coffee, with a little research, you’ll find it in Finland!
What: Coffee breaks are entwined in almost every Finnish activity from working and studying to hanging out with friends and holiday-making.
Where: Most bigger cities in Finland have good quality cafés and third wave coffee shops, but in smaller cities and rural areas I suggest you to seek out for an old-fashioned, unpretentious café to sip your “sumppi” (coffee): you get the same quality of coffee as in those impersonal, wannabe trendy cafés, but with more original atmosphere and a truly Finnish experience to go with your coffee.
When: A Finn normally buys coffee in 500 g packs. One pack makes approximately 71 cups of coffee, thus 1 kg makes 142 cups. 12 kg of coffee makes 1704 cups of coffee per year per a Finn, which makes 4,66 cups per day. Now, it has to be taken into account that not every Finn drinks coffee: it is esteemed bad for kids – typically we start drinking it during the first exam week in high school – and some “prefer tea” (whatever that means). Deducted from this, I’d say that an average Finn drinks coffee, well, all the time expect when sleeping.
And even then, probably dreaming of coffee.
P.S. You can get more of Finnish Crumbs of Coffee in these links, enjoy: