Six micro-roasters from southern Finland spill the beans
Looking for good coffee? Blue Wings sets out in search of a truly amazing cuppa.
Helsinki: Kallio radicals
Five years ago, the 2011 Finnish Barista Champion Lauri Pipinen introduced Helsinki’s Kallio neighbourhood to a radical concept: a café that only served light roast coffee, preferably without milk or sugar – which came as a total shock to a coffee community that was still enjoying its honeymoon stage with dark roasts. Pipinen joined forces with Samuli Ronkanen in 2014 and they started their own roastery. In five years, Good Life Coffee has gained an avid following, winning over even the greatest initial sceptics.
Tampere: Brew pioneers
In the 1990s, the Finnish coffee scene was all about bulk coffee. This finally began to change when Tampere-based Reija Paakkinen and Mika Hannuniemi started up a range of speciality roasts that quickly found a solid fan base. Today Mokkamestarit have an established place in the Finnish market, catering to coffee connoisseurs from their roaster shop just outside Tampere and their cosy café in the city centre. Constantly looking for the next new thing, their current top-sellers include a flat white (using light roast espresso) and Café Femenino products sourced from female farmers in Peru.
Pori: East coast artisans
Pori’s old cotton mill has witnessed a renaissance in the past couple of years. Today the former industrial site houses the epicentre of the city’s coffee scene thanks to Café Solo and Porin Paahtimo roastery. The roasting machine in the back of the café remains a crowd-pleaser, with many customers timing their visit to witness the afternoon roasting. Their seasonal speciality, Patamokka, is a dark and slightly reckless mix of Colombian and Brazilian beans designed especially for supporters of the local hockey team, Porin Ässät.
Helsinki: An understated quest
Some 20 years ago, at the age of 15, Benjamin Andberg started to roast coffee as a hobby: first in a frying pan, then in a popcorn popper, and eventually in a small-batch home roaster. Fast forward to 2011. Andberg opens Helsingin Kahvipaahtimo in an inconspicuous building in the Vallila neighbourhood of Helsinki. Andberg’s approach may be simple, but his agenda includes an ethical mission. He wants to reach the conscientious consumer and have them question what’s in their cup. The roastery is out of bounds for visitors, however, coffee enthusiasts can relish the brews at the whimsical Päiväkahvibaari (Day Coffee Bar) in the Vallila district.
Helsinki: Latin fusion
Ivan Ore and Mia Nikander-Ore’s “love-for-coffee” story began on a visit to Ore’s home country of Peru in 2001. An uncle, who was a coffee producer, suggested they buy green coffee from the local cooperative and sell to roasters in Finland. Instead Ore ended up roasting the beans himself. In 2002 the Peruvian-Finnish couple opened Cafetoria Roastery in Lohja, about 70 kilometres west of Helsinki. In 2012 they opened a café and shop in Helsinki’s Töölö. The couple dare to be different. Case in point, they’ve introduced a high quality organic Robusta coffee, which is taboo in the industry because the bean is considered more bitter than its aromatic cousin the Arabica bean.
Turku: Reinventing light roast
Turku’s historic riverfront is a favourite hangout for locals and travellers, but it also hosts the city’s most fascinating coffee hub, Café Art. The family-run café offers a wide array of baked goods, art, and atmosphere, but the real attraction is the coffee. Serving products from their own roastery, Turun Kahvipaahtimo, the founders have always adhered to a rigorous philosophy: they’re all about light roast. The roastery, located just outside Turku, produces some 100 kilograms of coffee a day. It also houses a small shop and café for those who want to see where all the magic happens.
Text Amanda Soila and Shelly Nyqvist
Photos Amanda Soila