coffee mug in hand

Coffee is an essential part of Nordic drinking culture

One can’t really talk about Nordic drinking culture without mentioning coffee. The locals are some of the biggest coffee drinkers in the world: Finns consume 12 kilograms worth of coffee beans annually per person.

The popularity of coffee is partly explained by the culture around it. In Scandinavia it is common to gather around the table together with friends and family to enjoy coffee and pastries. In other parts of the world, coffee is often consumed alone or on the go.

In Southern Europe espressos are usually gobbled down quickly by the bar and in North America people crab coffee to go and drink it on the road or at work.

The Swedish word for this local slow coffee & pastry culture, “fika”, has started to slowly spread internationally as well over the last few years. In Finnish this is known as “pullakahvit”, which means moments that unite friends, family and work communities around hot brew and treats.

In Finnish work legislation there is actually a compulsory break during the workday - and not any break, it is a coffee break. Besides workdays, coffee is an important part of many Nordic rites of passage like christenings, weddings and funerals.

When it comes to alcoholic drinks, the Nordic people have their own traditions with coffee. Having an “avec”, in other words a small amount of spirit served besides coffee has been a strong part of after dinner practices for a long time. One of the Finnish traditions is to drink coffee mixed with strong alcohol from a small coffee cup.

This drink called “kahviplörö” was invented during the Prohibition. The right proportions of coffee and alcohol are determined with a coin which is set on the bottom of a coffee cup: Coffee is poured on top until the coin disappears from sight. Then alcohol is added until the coin can be seen again. Try it with vodka, cut cognac or brandy!

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