A Coffee Lover's Guide to Helsinki
Unbeknownst to most people outside of Finland, Finns actually consume the most coffee in the world**. The average Finn consumes 12 kg of coffee grounds per year -- that's about 26 pounds for my fellow Americans! -- compared to America, which has an average of about 1 kilo, that's a ton of coffee. My coffee intake increased so much when I moved here, that when I went to visit my dentist while in the US for Christmas, he actually told me I needed to cut back because he could see the evidence (but you know us Americans and our obsession with our teeth!).
**And they consume the most milk in the world! The average Finn drinks one liter of milk a day. ONE ENTIRE LITER. It still makes me smile when I go to a restaurant during lunch time and see a bunch of middle aged co-workers sitting around the table drinking a glass of milk together.
The love of coffee culminates in the capital, where there are dreamy coffee shops on every corner and roasters popping up regularly. Not only is there an obsession with drinking coffee, there's an obsession with learning to make coffee. All the larger coffee shops and roasters have barista classes where you can learn the history of coffee, cupping, different brewing techniques, etc. I've put together a list of all my favorite spots in Helsinki, whether it be a nice place to hang out or the best place to get a strong espresso.
Johan & Nyström
Okay, I guess it's somewhat offensive to start this list off with a Swedish roastery, but I think for someone visiting Helsinki it's the top location with amazing coffee. It's been chosen many times as the best cafe in Stockholm, and they bring that delicious coffee to Helsinki. It's located near Senate Square and the Esplanade, the main attraction areas for tourists. After getting a cup, you can head through the Katajanokka district located right behind the cafe -- it's known for its elegant art nouveau buildings, so you can definitely snap some good pictures for your Instagram!
Monday - Saturday 8 until 19, Sunday 9 until 18
This is a close second for favorite coffee place in Helsinki! They have baristas that are extremely knowledgable and love sharing what they know with their customers. Located in the Design District and filled with natural light (well, on our rare sunny days!) and greenery, it's a great place to hunker down for the afternoon.
Tuesday - Sunday 11 until 18, closed Mondays
This is one of the iconic coffee spots in Helsinki: it was built in 1952 for the Olympics and has been a hot spot ever since. Located on the sea, they have a beautiful patio and great coffee (and pastries!) to boot. A portion of the money from all coffee and breakfast sales is given to support children, mothers, and the elderly.
Monday - Saturday 9 until 17
Another located in the Design District (I guess I'm kind of biased since I live in this area!), Kaffa Roastery is amazing for coffee fiends. The location has an industrial vibe and there is always some good music playing in the background.
Monday - Friday 7:45 until 18, Saturday 10 until 17, Closed Sundays
A skip, hop, and jump away from Kaffa is newcomer KUUMA. It's quite small and can be extremely crowded, but if you can make your way in, it's a colorful place that quickly brightens your day in cloudy Helsinki! It has a bright blue floor and white tiles lining the inside, making it a picture perfect location.
Tuesday - Friday 8 until 17, Saturday 10 until 16, Closed Sunday and Monday
A newer concept store from the Finnish coffee giant Paulig, it's a prime location on the main shopping street and has the coolest chairs upstairs. Ask the baristas what is tasting good that day and how they suggest it being brewed -- there are tons of different options! I usually go for the filtered Havana, but I've enjoyed everything I've had there.
Monday - Friday 7:30 until 21, Saturday 9 until 21, Sunday 10 until 20
Good Life Coffee
If in Kallio, the hip, quirky part of Helsinki, this is the place to go! This place feels quintessential modern Finnish, with attention to intricate design and wallpaper from a popular Finnish company lining the walls. There is usually some trendy jazz playing in the background to listen to while enjoying a filtered coffee of the day.
Monday - Friday 8 until 18, Saturday 9 until 16, Closed Sundays
Located near the main shopping street and the railway station, this is a cool new, albeit tiny, cafe in the back of the concept store TRE. They have some good roasts with really interesting desserts and treats to match. Where else in the city can you say you've had a dark roast paired with dried insect larva chocolates?!
Monday - Friday 11 until 19, Saturday 11 until 18, Sunday 12 until 16
If I'm not at Johan & Nyström, you can almost always bet that I am here! Fratello is located right across the street from the university and is constantly buzzing with students and professors heading in and out between classes. The treat here is siphoned coffee. It takes a while to make, but they almost always nail it and you'll be more than satisfied.
Monday - Friday 7:30 until 20, Saturday 10 until 18, Sunday 12 until 17
We love our cafes here in Finland, mainly because it's a way to hole up from the cold and warm up together. Brooklyn Cafe is one of these idyllic cozy spots. Lined with books on the walls, candles, and large windows looking out onto the snowy streets, it's a great place to get some homemade cookies and warm coffee to pass away some time.
Monday - Friday 7:30 until 19, Saturday 9 until 17:30, Sunday 10:30 until 17:30