Why Do Nordics Drink So Much Coffee?Helga Mjöll Oddsdóttir
If you were to look up which countries in the world drink the most coffee per person, you would find that every Nordic country tops that list. Finland is actually the world’s biggest consumer on a per-person basis year after year, according to worldpopulationreview.com. However, if you were to look up which countries produce the most coffee, you would not find even one of them coming close to even making the list. So, how did the Nordics become the leaders in the world when it comes to coffee consumption? The answer has to do with their history, etiquette, and culture.
Coffee reached the Nordics when global trade began, with it coming from Arabic and Asian countries. At the beginning, it was extremely costly, and only the rich elite could afford to consume it. In 1756, it was actually outlawed in Finland and Sweden, which were then one country, in order to boost tea sales. This did not last long, and then coffee gradually grew less expensive, and it began to supplant wine as a social drink. The reasoning for this was that in the early 1800s, these countries were fairly poor and because of increased taxes on alcohol and alcohol manufacturing, people needed to develop a new custom to occupy their time. Coffee became the replacement and has stuck as the Nordics choice drink. Churches also began to give out coffee to their members, helping its popularity grow. Kirkekaffe, which means “church coffee,” has become a social institution.
These factors throughout history made coffee popular initially but it has stuck because the Nordics have made it a part of their routine. When they have someone over to their house or place of business, it is customary to serve coffee, and it is also typical for the guests to accept it. Usually, they will also bring out pastries as well, as it is common for them to be had together.
Sweden actually has a tradition called Fika, which is a “break” during which you enjoy a cup of coffee and a conversation with others. They take this very seriously and it is a daily tradition which even employers usually encourage or even require. So daily, Swedes take time from their workday to enjoy coffee. In many cultures coffee is considered to be a pick me up and something to grab on the go, in Nordic countries it is something to relax you and to slow down and enjoy. Coffee is intertwined in Nordics daily lives, from church to work to home, which makes it understandable as to why they consume so much of it.
Another more obvious reason why coffee is so popular is because of the region of the world in which these countries are located. They are all so northern, making it so they have long, dark, and very cold winters. Therefore, it can serve as not only a delicious drink to enjoy, but also as something to help keep everyone warm.
While they do not have any mass coffee production, there is some coffee manufactured in these countries, which many tend to prefer to use. Popular brands include Evergood Kaffe, Merrild, and Gevalia.
Take-away coffee is gaining popularity fast and coffee shop culture is beloved in the north, but traditionally Nordics make their own coffee at home. Mostly drip coffee.
If you want to drink coffee like a Nordic, it is easy to do. The key is simplicity. They brew filtered coffee manually or in a coffee brewing machine. There is also the Swedish “kokkaffe“method. Which is boiling water, add coarsely ground coffee, cover and let brew for five minutes, Remove the cover and press down lightly on the coffee grinds to help them sink. Allow one minute before pouring the coffee into a cup slowly and add sweetener or cream if wanted. Simple as that!
If you’re in the mood for something with a kick, try making a boozy coffee, Kaffegök. Brew your choice amount of coffee, put a sugar cube in the bottom of a cup, fill the cup with coffee until the cube is not visible, and then fill with your choice alcoholic beverage until you can see it again. That’s it! Drink and enjoy!
Written by Reilly O’Neill