Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Barry Gray
As well as loving the taste of coffee, I also find the coffee industry quite fascinating. The way we consume so much of this delicious drink daily has intrigued me for years.
But I recently wrote a post for here regarding the reasons why rich countries drink so much coffee, and during my research for it, I came across something that shocked me.
Finland is the country that consumes the most coffee per head of population in the world. That got me thinking: why?
The Finns drink so much coffee for a couple of reasons. First, the weather and long winters provide the perfect backdrop for a warm cup of coffee to get some heat. Also, coffee culture is huge in Finland, as it is in other Scandinavian countries. Hence, it’s almost as if the country is set up to love coffee because of those two reasons.
But while those reasons make so much sense to me, they did make me want to dive deeper into the Finnish coffee culture because it’s certainly not the country I would have picked as the one that consumes the most coffee in the world.
After looking into Finland and coffee, this is what I discovered.
The Concept of Kakkukahvi
There are a few things I love about Scandinavia in general, and one thing is their insistence on doing certain things for comfort, no matter the weather. I guess it’s important to stress the part about the weather since winter in Finland lasts for months and can be extremely cold and harsh.
If you venture to Ikea, you will find signs in the restaurant and around the building telling you about something called “fika,” which basically refers to coffee and cake. Well, that’s the Swedish version, but Finland has its own version, and it’s called “kakkukahvi.”
The idea of kakkukhavi is the same as fika in that it means to indulge in coffee and cake. It’s a moment to reflect and talk with friends in a comfortable place and to almost be mindful, even for just 10 or 15 minutes.
I love this whole idea. It’s as if they pause during the day and allow themselves to just take a moment and chill out.
The fact they incorporate coffee into this pause is an added bonus, but it must be good for your soul to do this.
Caffeine Helps in Those Long, Dark Days
Another thing to consider with Finland and its love of coffee is actually their winter. You need to remember that winter in this country is long and hard.
It’s also bitterly cold at various times.
But I think the one thing that would hit me the hardest is the fact they have times in winter when it’s only daylight for a handful of hours. Now, I sort of get that here with it being daylight for 6 or 7 hours, but it can be as low as 3 or 4 in Finland.
So why should this influence their love of coffee?
Well, being dark for so long has an impact on our energy levels. It sends a signal to our brain to get ready for sleep, and that’s not something you want to happen when it would mean you were sleeping for 20 hours in a day.
So, the Finns use caffeine to give them that energy shot and help them to really stay awake.
This does make so much sense. In a way, it’s kind of what people do in the morning when they need a strong coffee to kickstart themselves into action.
However, the difference with Finland is they are doing it to help keep themselves going when the environment around them is telling them to go to bed.
That also explains why the top three countries in the world for coffee consumption per head of population are in Scandinavia. They deal with the same issues surrounding long periods of darkness in winter, so it seems everyone in Scandinavia is taking the same approach.
Mandated Coffee Breaks
I also discovered that Finland is big on making a coffee break mandatory. Yep, they enforce the idea of having at least 2 coffee breaks, lasting 15 minutes each, in the working day, and that’s on top of the usual lunch break.
But here’s the thing.
When you hear the idea of a coffee break, they really do mean business when it comes to drinking coffee. Sure, some people will grab something else, but most people will go ahead and get that caffeine shot that powers them on throughout the rest of the day.
I love this idea of coffee breaks being mandatory. I think more countries should do this to allow us coffee lovers to get our regular fixes.
What is Finnish Coffee Culture Like?
I mentioned earlier the idea of kakkukhavi and the significant role it plays in Finnish society, but let me tell you more about the general coffee culture that exists in the country.
European coffee culture, in general, is pretty laid back and relaxed, with Finland being no different in that respect. But I’ve discovered that Finland takes coffee culture to a whole new level.
First, the Finns will celebrate different things with coffee. I’m not saying they will celebrate with coffee when other people would be popping the corks off champagne bottles. However, they will drink coffee together when wanting to discuss some good news.
Next, so much business is done over a cup of coffee. It’s not unusual for meetings to be held in a coffee shop while the different parties sit with their Americano, Espresso, or whatever type of coffee they are drinking.
Also, this laid-back approach I mentioned falls over into the business world. It’s not as formal as in other countries, so you could learn some high-level CEO of a major company is sitting in some random coffee shop discussing the next big deal.
But here’s another thing I discovered about Finnish coffee culture: it’s viewed as rude to turn down a cup of coffee.
Now, Finland is big on manners, and the Finns do not want to upset one another or appear rude. So, while offering coffee to visitors at your home is customary, it’s also expected to take up the host on their offer of coffee rather than saying no.
That alone ramps up coffee consumption when you consider the Finns are always visiting one another.
How Much Coffee Do They Drink in Finland?
I think I mentioned elsewhere on the site when discussing the countries that drink the most coffee how I was stunned that Finland came top of the list. Well, I don’t think I ever told you how much coffee they consume.
You see, Finland is not just slightly ahead of the other countries for the volume of coffee they consume. They are so far ahead that other countries are simply lagging behind.
So, would you like to know how much coffee it all translates to per day?
Well, the average number of cups of coffee Finns drink in a single day ranges between 5 and 8 cups. That’s a considerable amount, but here’s another figure that will blow your mind.
If you translate that into actual coffee, it means the average person consumes 26 kg of coffee beans per year. That’s an astronomical amount, and I don’t see how they will end up losing their spot as the highest coffee consumers in the world any time soon.
What Type of Coffee Do Finns Prefer to Drink?
I’ve found this to be a case of me going down a rabbit hole as I dived deeper into the reasons why coffee is so popular in Finland. Ultimately, it led me to wonder about the types of coffee they prefer to drink in the country.
Well, and this is no surprise thanks to the need for caffeine, it seems the Finns hate decaf coffee. Yes, you can get some of it, but they want the caffeine hit, so using decaf coffee beans makes no sense whatsoever to them.
Actually, an Espresso is considered a bit more of a specialty in Finland. Sure, you can get an Espresso in any coffee shop, but it’s not their central go-to coffee.
My Recap on Why Finns Drink So Much Coffee
Finally, here’s my recap on the main reasons why Finns drink so much coffee.
- The concept of kakkukhavi is huge in Finland, giving an emphasis on being cozy and comfortable
- Coffee plays a major role in that concept
- Caffeine is used to boost energy during the long winter months
- There are mandated coffee breaks at work
- Finnish coffee culture is a huge deal
- It’s seen as rude to not offer coffee to visitors
- It’s also seen as disrespectful to reject the offer of coffee
- Finns drink an average of up to 8 cups of coffee per day
- The average Finn consumes 26 kg of coffee a year
- They prefer light roasts to dark roasts
- They like pour-over and French Press compared to espresso
I do love how Finland has very specific ideas regarding coffee and how it should be enjoyed. They are all about creating a laid-back atmosphere and for it to be a relaxing pursuit, and I love the idea.
Even business is carried out over a relaxing cup of coffee, and it all comes across as a slower pace of life than what you may be used to.
For me, I think Finland has this concept of drinking coffee perfected.
So the Finns drink so much coffee because of the weather and culture. In that respect, they are no different from so many other countries or nationalities. Still, they just appear to take it all to an extreme.
I do love the way they go about life and coffee. It comes across as laid-back and a whole lot more fun than how we generally do things.
They make drinking coffee a mindfulness exercise allowing them to indulge in the different flavors and tastes unlike anybody else on the planet. I think we could all take a leaf from their book and start appreciating the finer parts of coffee without indulging in the stress that comes with life.