4 Cool Cafés in Helsinki, Finland
Finns love coffee, and as you explore Helsinki, you’re never too far from your next caffeine fix. Here is a short list of specialty cafés not to be missed when visiting the city.
BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT
Featured photo by Julius Jansson on Unsplash
One’s first time in Helsinki, Finland, can be a pleasant surprise.
On paper, Finland’s small capital has a limited range of things to do and see. There are a few fine museums, a group of beautiful churches, a splendid fortress built on three (contiguous) islands—attractions and sights to keep you busy for two or three days, not much more.
Then, you start to explore the city and begin to feel the atmosphere; you fall in love with the city, its people, and the Finnish way of life. Here, there is always time for a smile, a relaxing moment in the sauna (followed by a dip in the icy water), and another cup of coffee. Bottomless filter coffee (of surprisingly high quality) is served almost everywhere, and specialty-coffee shops and roasters are popping up on every corner.
Here are four specialty cafés to get you started exploring the local coffee scene, followed by some advice. If it’s Sunday, many of the specialty cafés in town will be closed all day. But lucky for you, you can always find a decent cup brewed somewhere near you. Just ask a local!
In the center of Helsinki, not far from Esplanadi Park (one of the city’s most beloved meeting points for young and old), there is a special coffee shop that has quickly become the go-to place for coffee lovers looking for lightly roasted coffee.
In addition to a classic coffee menu, Andante features a long list of fruity and funky, hand-brewed delicacies from several micro-roasters that change every couple of weeks. At the time of our visit, these included coffees roasted by Dutch Dak Coffee and Danish La Cabra. This the perfect place to spend a couple of afternoon hours enjoying delicious coffee and fighting the frigid air.
But there’s more: With a short and tasty menu of brunch dishes, some sweet offerings, and a “no Wi-Fi“ policy, Andante is also the perfect place to have breakfast with friends.
One of Finland’s oldest specialty-coffee roasters, Kaffa Roastery has been roasting fresh and tasty coffees since 2007. It all started when Svante had a dazzling idea: According to statistics, Finns drink the most coffee in the world. Would it be possible to ensure that they also drink some of the best coffees in the world?
Believing it was possible, Svante, together with a group of friends, founded Kaffa. Today, 16 years later, the roastery is one of the most recognized in all of Finland, and supplies coffee to many businesses in Helsinki and the surrounding areas.
The Kaffa coffee shop is located in the center of Helsinki, not far from one of the city’s most beautiful waterfronts. Here, you can taste many of these delicious coffees along with some delicious pastries, including a tasty cinnamon roll comparable to those from the city’s best bakeries.
Johan & Nyström
On the market for nearly two decades, Johan & Nyström is one of the best-known specialty-coffee roasters in Northern Europe. Originally from Sweden, in addition to its three coffee shops in Stockholm, the roasting company has a location in downtown Helsinki, perfectly nestled just a few minutes’ walk from the ferry to Suomenlinna (the UNESCO World Heritage maritime fortress) and a little farther from the ferry to Tallinn.
Open every day (including Sundays) until late afternoon, Johan & Nyström’s Finnish location is a cozy space that—with perfectly brewed coffees, cinnamon and cardamom sandwiches, as well as wine and beers—welcomes specialty-coffee lovers along with travelers waiting to catch the next boat and casual passersby looking for a warm place to fight the cold air.
It’s a gray Sunday morning in mid-September, and you are already resigned to spending the whole day without a good cup of coffee. Then, walking outside the cheap hostel, you find a flea market with tons of people selling old clothes, toys, and books. As you look around for something cheap to buy, you notice a nice café on the opposite corner.
Outside there are no big signs advertising specialty coffee, just a simple “Sävy Coffee Bar“ and a couple of small tables outside.
Inside is pure magic. The smell of freshly baked almond croissants mingles with the delicious aroma of freshly ground coffee, and the friendly barista (who apparently knows all the regulars by name) greets you with a smile. Around you, a couple of friends play backgammon, a boy writes in his journal, and two lovebirds talk to each other over coffee.
You grab a cup of perfectly brewed coffee (roasted by the guys from Good Life Coffee, one of the oldest specialty roasters in southern Finland), and a tasty homemade granola. Then you soak in the atmosphere—definitely the perfect way to start a lazy Sunday morning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.
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Source: Barista Magazine