Friday, August 24, 2012

Tim Wendelboe

We spent our first morning in Oslo hanging out with Tim Varney at Tim Wendelboe while he roasted, and we watched...

and drank some coffee...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The colder days in Bergen...

    Kaffeen                                                                     Kaffemisjonen


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lippa Kiska

Shortly after arriving in Helsinki we saw an image of a yellow café kiosk in a guide to local cuisine. We knew from the picture that we needed to find this kiosk before we left Finland. We searched for five days, always coming across one that was similar in shape, but slightly different from the one we had seen in the guide. Finally, on our last day in Helsinki, we made it to Lippa Kiska and were rewarded with coffee, munkki's, and a group of friendly Finnish men.

The interesting thing about this café is that it sits in the middle of a median, with heavy traffic surrounding the median on all sides. Although this kiosk is extremely small, it’s character is large and the character of the customers that frequent the kiosk are even larger.

Within five minutes, we had a handful of older gentlemanly friends – the Lippa Kiska regulars. There was the retired film producer, the orthopedic surgeon, the artist, the rock star and the friendliest, jolliest owner, Pekka, who spoke proudly of his café. The kiosk was built in 1939, along with 40 others that were built in the same circular shape. They were all shut down during the war and stayed closed for years after, until they started coming back to life, one by one, with new owners; selling everything from coffee to t-shirts in these kiosks. The city of Helsinki owns these little establishments, and the owners rent them. They are allowed to add seating, and have an array of services, but they cannot change the historic architecture.

Lippa Kiska sold the usual pastries, and the typical coffee blend, but its uniqueness came from its environment, history, and clientele. The crowd that frequents this café are much older, and seemed happy to sit for hours sipping on coffee and smoking cigarettes with a view of the harbor, and cars zooming around them. They are also quite loyal. The owner’s best friend and fellow employer made it clear that the best part of the job was getting to hang out with his buddies, some of whom he has known for 60 years!  Can’t beat that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cafe Regatta

So....where does one go on a warm, sunny day in Helsinki? To Cafe Regatta! Duh!
Sam and I had this small (in size, not personality) cafe on our list for quite some time. She had come across an image of this it's red exterior on an obscure website a few months ago, and was so intrigued by its design and location that we had to go. 

After navigating the Helsinki public transportation, and wandering around a beach, we found our way to Cafe Regatta, and what a sight to behold! The deep red paint against the deep blue ocean creates quite a beautiful contrast, and the many people happily lounging outside; reading a book, chatting with friends, grilling a hot dog (the usual) was met with delight. 
Upon approaching the door of the cafe, a waft of cinnamon buns reached our noses, and a line of people halted our entrance. You can presume that this is quite a popular place in the summer. It is right on the water and provides two large outdoor seating areas for people to lap up the sun and feel the ocean breeze on a warm day. We took a hint from the locals and ordered a cinnamon roll, two cups of coffee and ran out the door to find a table.

Cafe Regatta has been open for 10 years, but the building has been a cafe since the Olympic games in 1952, and prior to the current owner, was run by the Canoeing Club. The little red building was originally a fish drying shack owned by the biggest coffee roasting family in Finland; the Pauligs, who lived about 50 meters away. The waters edge, where the cafe occupies, also holds an Olympic stadium that was used for the watching of water sports. Therefore, the Pauligs revamped their fish drying shack, and reopened as a cafe for the onlookers to buy refreshments while watching the competition.

Now the cafe is a popular place among locals and tourists. It attracts a wide range of customers, from fireman, to church groups, to people on their afternoon stroll. The cafe is just as popular during the winter months as well. The interior is quite cosy, and the oven keeps the place very warm and fragrant from the baking cinnamon rolls. Not so bad.

So, if it is a sunny day in Helsinki, make sure you stop by Cafe Regatta. Or, do as the locals, and come when its cold and rainy as well.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


This year Helsinki became the Design Capital of the World. Pretty awesome right? In order to house a series of lectures, exhibitions, and events, they constructed an incredible pop-up cafe. Take a look, and if you're in Helsinki, make sure you get your bum over there before its too late!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Good Life Coffee

Since arriving to Finland, we have been trying to findanswers to this question: What is Finnishcafé culture? So far we’ve found outdoor market café stalls, café kiosks, afarmhouse island café, and a waterside café in an old fish-drying house, butcafes with La Marzocco espresso machines and aero press' are a bit harder tocome by in this town. That’s why we were intrigued by Good Life Coffee, a very young and very hip café onKolmas Linja in Helsinki.

Lauri Pipinen, the owner of this baby café (only 3 months old) treated us first to some espressos, then cappuccinos and then a cup of the famous La Esmeralda (ooooh, lucky us!). Although Lauri can make a mean espresso, we found out that he, just like the other baristas we have met in Finland, are all aboutthe filter coffee. Lauri explained that Finns drink a lot of coffee but that the coffee they drink is usually a mix of 10 different types of beans – and that doesn’t tell you anything about the coffee itself. Lauri wants to serve a 'proper 'or 'good' cup of coffee (good green beans, good roast, good barista = good coffee) and there are plenty of people in Helsinki that would say that this is exactly what he is doing.