15.11.10 – I was trying to get to my Finnish for Foreigners class and I was lost as usual. First off, you think if they had a class with the word Foreigner in the title, the administrative office would consider keeping the location of the class simple. Not the case with my class. I meet four times a week and each day it’s in a different building in locations all over the city. Todays classroom was out in an industrial section of town and because I tried a different tram, I was walking along some streets I was not so familiar with.
Then it hit me like a wave, the smell of roasting coffee, so rich and warm it stopped me in my tracks. The building, or better yet the factory, was a good five to six stories high and at least three blocks long. Inscribed on the front, some of the popular brands of Finnish coffee; Cafe Hieno, Saluda, and my favorite, Kulta Katriina (Katrina’s Gold). There wasn’t a soul to be seen but the building pulsed and glowed with energy. I fought the urge to scale the walls and start “huffing” one of the exhaust vents. This was it, the source, the beginning, the point of supply…
Ok, obviously I love coffee but luckily so do the Finns. One news report, albeit a Finnish news report, read
Once again, Finns are the world’s leading coffee drinkers. Annually, Finns consume on average 9.8 kilos of coffee. The EU average is 5 kilos per person. Finnish roasting factories provided stores and institutional kitchens with 48.7 million kilos of roasted coffee last year. — YLI Uutiset, 2007
They drink coffee and they are proud of it!
Early on in my Finnish class, our teacher told us there were three verbs to learn that were very popular in Finland, sienestää (to pick mushrooms), kalastaa (to fish) and juoda (to drink). “These are very popular werbs to Finnish people” she said in a solemn tone. Now, if you told a Finn you don’t drink olut (beer) they might shrug it off as if you were a foreigner but if you tell them you don’t drink kahvi (coffee) they’ll look at you as if you’re from another planet.
Finnish grocery markets aren’t very large so they have to make the most of their space and they can’t offer everything, but you can be damn sure there will be an entire aisle of bricks and bricks of vacuum sealed freshly ground coffee. Presedenti, Saluda, Kulta Katriina, Paulig Juhla, it’s there or there will be hell to pay. The market I was in today had an entire palette of one brand. They probably brought it in with a forklift.
Hopefully soon they will find a passion for espresso!
- Gone off coffee, want back in (ask.metafilter.com)
- Finnish Food at Hel Yes! a Pop-up Resto at the London Design Festival (treehugger.com)
- Paper Watch: Funny Finns (paul.kedrosky.com)