Kaffa – best coffee in Helsinki?

There’s lots to like about about Helsinki. For one, the Finns are outrageously polite (potentially something that goes hand in hand with being one of the least corrupt countries in the world). There’s more Marimekko than you can poke a stick at. And the coffee is very good. Which makes sense for a country where people will drink up to 10 cups a day.

There are plenty of good spots to seek out a drop in Helsinki; some with twinkly lights by the harbour and the additional promise of mulled wine-  but for the very best, we think you should head to Kaffa.

Kaffa is more of a roastery than a cafe. Beans  are sourced from single estates all over the world and carefully treated in the back of this warehouse space in the depths of the Design District, before being parcelled off to appease other local cafes and at -home-drinkers.

It’s well worth trudging through the twinkling distractions in the World City of Design 2012 to find the source of those beans. For one, the smell is pure hedonism. Whispers of caramel, citrus and burnt toast sneak out the door. For two, the passion of the baristas is infectious. Show a passing interest in the process and there’s a tour of the roastery for you and a lengthy exposition about the relative hardness of water in parts of Scandinavia and what effect it will have on the flavours of a cup.

The roast at Kaffa is light, leaving a distinct fresh berry tang in the espresso. But there’s also a lovely mallow-softness to the flat whites, care of the rich Finnish milk. The espressos are produced on a Synesso, that matinee idol of a machine used in the World Barista Championships.

There are spots to sit on stools at the window, overlooking the straight grey street. Or else get a take away and start browsing in adjacent homewares store.

Lustworthy design items, locals in Faroese knitwear and a smorgasboard style cafe with juices, cold cuts and pastries is all there to be discovered on the other side of the roastery’s partition. Add a terrific cup of coffee (or two) and quite frankly, it’s your Finnish fantasy come to life.

Kaffa Roastery
Pursimiehenkatu 29 A
, Helsinki, FI.
+358 10 4226700

Nb, not open Sundays.

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  1. This is great – very useful (as am planning a trip there and also big into Finnish design) – any other posts coming, or foodie tips?

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