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Nordic Coffee Culture Habits Revealed

Why the Nordics are a Coffee Culture?

When you visit the Nordics, you always get offered coffee or tea, mostly coffee. The Nordic countries love coffee. Statistically, they drink more coffee per capita than people of any other nation. Going through 12 kilograms, a person each year, according to World Population Review.

Coffee makes the world go around at least in Finland. Most of the coffee is consumed at home or at work and there is a mandatory 15min coffee break for the workplace by law.

Nordic Coffee on a cup

There is something about coffee in Finland. Every house has a coffee machine to start with. Not the coffee machine that baristas have but a filtered coffee machine. You also have different types of coffee and filters. Mostly Finns tend to drink lightly roasted coffee. The strong blends have only recently been gaining familiarity.

There is a movement to be more sustainable in where coffee is bought from, how it is produced and what is made for the end results. For example, people are using the coffee ground to make face masks at home or recycling them in compost and there are recyclable filters that you can use all over again.

The Different Nordic Coffee Habits

You wake up and morning coffee lingers through the house when parents are getting themselves and kids ready for the day. That is how I remember my childhood and how coffee was drunk at the morning with breakfast. Again before lunch, after lunch, and again in the evening.

Visiting my grandmothers there was always coffee on the go, being warmed up when visitors arrived. With some bun or cookies at the side. Apparently, Finns drink an average of three to five cups of coffee a day. I am not surprised.

In Sweden, you have a Fika and in Finland, we call it pullakahvi (coffee and a bun). It is a sign of hospitality to offer something with coffee and for many, it is homemade coffee buns that seal the deal of friendship.

Nowadays there are many coffee chains in Finland but the big ones like Starbucks have never really taken over Finns. Perhaps because coffee is available on many shops, petrol stations or just grocery stores and as said before everyone’s home has its own filtered coffee machine.

Many Faces of Coffee at the Nordics

The Nordic coffee culture is very clear when you start looking at the different words they use to describe it. Aamukahvi (morning coffee), päiväkahvi (day coffee), iltakahvi (evening coffee) and of course saunakahvi (sauna coffee).

As when you are leaving a job, or moving aways you have läksiäiskahvit (farewell coffee). You get mitalikahvit (medal coffee), when a Finn has won a medal in some sports and given by the president or high elected official to the winners.

Nordic countries love coffee

There is matkakahvi (traveling coffee) and a vaalikahvit (election coffee) which means that after you have voted in some election (parliamentary,) there is usually coffee offered or you get some when you are at home. You have juhlakahvit (celebratory coffee) or kakkukahvit  (cake and coffee)
with any celebration like birthday, wedding etc.

You have a thermos full of coffee when you go out in the winter, like ice-fishing or hunting or skiing. Coffee on thermos is a must as you might meet friends on the way.

What about other Coffee Drinking Nordics?

There is no surprise to learn they are all in the top 10 nations as coffee drinkers. You might wonder why there is such a need for this liquid gold at the Nordics?

My theory is that long dark days need something to keep you warm and also alert during winter. But then tea has caffeine why tea has never taken over like coffee?

Again I think we need to look at history and that coffee came from the east during the 17th century so the English tea culture did not get a chance to infiltrate the Nordics as they had already been converted to coffee.

Coffee covers of Nordics

I have been a tea drinker for decades now. I have not had a coffee for years. Always a topic of discussion when I visit friends in Finland who need to dig around the cupboards to find their tea bags and cups when I come to thire house.

I am the odd one out I know but you will be safer when you offer coffee for Nordic travelers than tea with a bun.

If you loved learning about a Nordic coffee culture I am sure you will love to learn more about Viking culture or How We Celebrate Midsummer Magic at the Nordics.

Or learn more about Nordics in my book Nordic Lifestyle: Embrace Slow Living, Cultivate Happiness and Know When to Take Off Your Shoes

Nordic Lifestyle Ebook Cover
1 Comment
  • Delightful Parenting
    Posted at 18:47h, 27 November

    Glad to know about the coffee culture in Finland, and the sweet gesture of offering homemade buns with coffee. Will come back to know more about your lovely culture 🙂

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