A Brief History of Finland Coffee Culture

History of Finland Coffee Culture
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dive into the captivating history of Finland coffee culture, from its early origins to the unique customs and trends that make it a global leader in the world of coffee.

Introduction: The Love Affair with Coffee

We all know that Finns love their coffee. But how did this passionate love affair between Finland and coffee begin? In this article, we will take a journey through the fascinating history of Finland’s coffee culture. From its humble beginnings to the unique customs and traditions that define it today, we’ll explore the factors that have made Finland one of the world’s leading coffee-consuming nations.

Early Origins: How Coffee Arrived in Finland

The story of coffee in Finland dates back to the 18th century when it was first introduced by Swedish traders. However, the beverage wasn’t widely adopted until the 19th century, when it became a symbol of modernity and progress. At this time, coffeehouses started to pop up, and Finns embraced this new beverage with open arms.

The Swedish Influence

Finland was under Swedish rule until 1809, which played a significant role in shaping the country’s coffee culture. The Swedes were among the first Europeans to adopt coffee, and they introduced this exotic beverage to Finland as part of their cultural exchange.

Coffee Becomes a Status Symbol

In the 19th century, coffee started to become a status symbol among the Finnish upper class. The wealthy would host lavish coffee parties, showcasing their fine china and expensive coffee sets.

Coffee Parties: A Social Affair

Coffee parties became a popular social event among the Finnish elite. These gatherings featured elaborate table settings, complete with beautiful silverware and delicate pastries. It was a way for the upper class to display their wealth and sophistication.

A historical journey through Finland's vibrant and diverse coffee culture.
A historical journey through Finland’s vibrant and diverse coffee culture.

The Rise of Finnish Coffeehouses

As coffee became more popular, so did the establishments that served it. Finnish coffeehouses began to emerge, providing a space for people to socialize, conduct business, and enjoy their favorite beverage.

The Role of Women in Coffeehouses

Interestingly, women played a crucial role in the development of Finnish coffeehouses. Female entrepreneurs were often the ones who opened these establishments, and they also made up the majority of the clientele. This was a significant step towards gender equality in Finland, as women gained more independence and economic power.

The Influence of World Wars on Coffee Consumption

During World War II, coffee imports to Finland were heavily restricted. This led to the rise of coffee substitutes, such as chicory, barley, and rye. However, these alternatives could not compare to the real thing, and Finns eagerly returned to their beloved coffee once the war ended.

The Unique Finnish Coffee Customs

Finland has developed its own unique coffee customs and traditions that set it apart from other coffee-loving nations.

Coffee with Pulla

One of the most beloved Finnish coffee traditions is enjoying a cup of coffee with a sweet, cardamom-spiced pastry called pulla. This delicious treat is often served during coffee breaks, and it’s the perfect complement to a strong cup of Finnish coffee.

Kaffeost: Coffee with Cheese

Another unique Finnish coffee custom is kaffeost, which involves adding a piece of cheese to the coffee. This might sound strange, but the cheese adds a creamy, slightly tangy flavor that many Finns find irresistible.

Modern-Day Finnish Coffee Culture

Today, Finland’s coffee culture is thriving. The country has embraced specialty coffee, and there are numerous artisan coffee roasters and trendy cafés that cater to the discerning tastes of Finnish coffee enthusiasts.

The Role of Sustainability

Sustainability is a key concern in modern Finnish coffee culture. Many Finnish coffee companies focus on sourcing their beans from ethical and environmentally friendly sources. This commitment to sustainability reflects the broader values of Finnish society, which places a strong emphasis on environmental responsibility and social justice.

Finland’s Love for Light Roasts

Unlike many other countries, Finland has a preference for light-roasted coffee. Light roasts tend to have a brighter, more acidic flavor profile, which highlights the unique characteristics of each coffee bean. This preference for light roasts is a testament to Finland’s dedication to quality and innovation in the world of coffee.

Coffee and Work-Life Balance

Finland is renowned for its emphasis on work-life balance, and coffee plays a significant role in this. Coffee breaks are an essential part of the Finnish workday, providing employees with a chance to recharge and socialize with their colleagues. This emphasis on taking breaks contributes to the country’s high levels of happiness and productivity.

The Future of Finland Coffee Culture

With its rich history, unique customs, and dedication to quality, it’s clear that Finland’s coffee culture is here to stay. As the world of coffee continues to evolve, we can expect Finland to remain at the forefront, embracing new trends and innovations while staying true to its traditions.

Finland’s love affair with coffee is a fascinating story that spans centuries. From its early beginnings as a status symbol for the elite to the unique customs and traditions that define it today, the country’s coffee culture is a testament to the resilience and innovation of the Finnish people. As we look to the future, we can be certain that Finland will continue to be a leader in the world of coffee, making it a destination for coffee enthusiasts everywhere.


  1. When was coffee first introduced to Finland? Coffee was first introduced to Finland in the 18th century by Swedish traders.
  2. What is pulla? Pulla is a sweet, cardamom-spiced Finnish pastry traditionally served with coffee.
  3. What is kaffeost? Kaffeost is a Finnish coffee custom that involves adding a piece of cheese to the coffee for a creamy, slightly tangy flavor.
  4. Why do Finns prefer light-roasted coffee? Finns prefer light-roasted coffee because it highlights the unique characteristics of each coffee bean and has a brighter, more acidic flavor profile.
  5. How does coffee contribute to work-life balance in Finland? Coffee breaks are an essential part of the Finnish workday, providing employees with a chance to recharge and socialize, thus contributing to the country’s emphasis on work-life balance.


Published by Oliver Jameson

Oliver Jameson is a coffee educator and writer who has dedicated his life to exploring the world of coffee. With a background in coffee roasting and a degree in food science, Oliver brings a scientific approach to the art of coffee brewing.

One comment on “A Brief History of Finland Coffee Culture”

  1. As a coffee enthusiast, I found this article to be really informative and interesting. I had no idea that Finland had such a rich coffee culture. Thanks for sharing!

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