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Here’s my guide for the best coffee in Helsinki. This time I didn’t grade them in any way – they all have great coffee and are worth the visit for other reasons too. One interesting detail that I noticed while writing this was that almost every shops uses AeroPress for brewing coffee by cup. So, go out there and tell me which shop does it best!
For high resolution photos visit my Flickr.
Good Life Coffee
Things are happening in Kallio, an up-and-coming district in Helsinki that was previously more of a working class area better known for its dozens of shady bars. The most recent reason to make your way on top of the Rock (as Kallio translates from Finnish) is Good Life Coffee, a coffee bar and a shop.
That’s where I am currently writing this article, enjoying a great cup of Johan & Nyström’s new natural processed coffee from Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza in Brazil. The man behind this coffee spot is Lauri Pipinen, Finnish Barista Champion 2011 and a very good friend of mine.
Stepping inside Good Life is like stepping in Pipinen’s living room. I love the welcoming atmosphere and lack of pretentiousness. There’s a second-hand table by one of the grand old men of Finnish Design (Ilmari Tapiovaara), LP-player spinning tunes in the corner and La Marzocco Linea humming and purring while doing what it does best (brewing tasty espresso). No-nonsense would be a fitting description for Good Life Coffee – great coffees from a variety of roasters in Finland and abroad, brewed on AeroPress one cup at a time and served with a smile.
Address: Kolmas Linja 17
TUE – FRI 7:45-18:00
SAT 10:00 – 16:00 SUN CLOSED
Johan & Nyström
Filling a beautiful old red brick warehouse right on the waterfront, Johan & Nyström has both the coffee and esthetic sides fixed. In the summer the terrace provides unrivaled views to the sea while cyclists and not-too-big groups of tourists pass by. Not the worst setting to enjoy a cup of coffee brewed on V60.
Pasi Kokko is a photographer turned barista who now focuses his efforts on instagramming his progress in latte art instead of shooting editorials for fashion magazines. I’m glad it turned this way – otherwise we couldn’t enjoy his cheerful and positive presence behind the bar, running the cafe operations for this Swedish roastery.
Treats and delicacies, some of them produced within the ”raw food” specifications, go well with the few daily changing coffee options. This shop is well worth the little walk or tram ride from the city centre.
Address: Kanavaranta 7
MON – FRI 9:00 – 18:00
SAT 10:00 – 17:00 SUN 10:00 – 17:00
Two years after setting up his first cafe, the very popular La Torrefazione, Jens Hampf opened Fratello in the newly renovated Kluuvi shopping centre in central Helsinki in 2011. The concept is similar: great coffee, Italian-inspired lunch, sandwiches, pastries, wine and beer.
Featuring the only syphon bar in Helsinki, Fratello has been in the forefront of bringing tasty, well-brewed filter coffee to the people, showing that black coffee can actually taste fantastic. You can choose from several single estate coffees roasted by Kaffa Roastery and occasionally sample treats from guest roasters, often foreign ones. Lately they’ve been brewing lovely coffee from Koppi in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Address: Yliopistonkatu 6, Kluuvi Shopping Centre
MON – FRI 7:30 – 20:00,
SAT 10:00 – 18:00 SUN 12:00 – 18:00
When it opened in September 2009 La Torrefazione was the first and only cafe in Helsinki to serve freshly roasted speciality coffee. I’ve counted having had at least 100 espressos there during the first autumn.
Located on the second floor on the busiest shopping street in Helsinki, La Torrefazione has proved that there is demand for quality coffee in this city. During lunch and after work hours it can be difficult to find a free seat. Serving two different espressos and changing filter coffees roasted by Kaffa Roastery, La Torrefazione also roasts some coffee in house on their Turkish-made Toper roaster (hence the Italian name for ”roastery”).
Address: Aleksanterinkatu 50, 2nd floor
MON – FRI 07:30 – 20:00,
SAT 09:00 – 19:00, SUN 10:00 – 18:30
In my opinion Kaffa Roastery has been and still is the pioneering quality focused roastery in Finland. Many larger and older establishments have changed their coffee from the bulk stuff to freshly roasted craft coffee. It’s also where I started my coffee career some 3,5 years ago, when the roastery was still in Tuusula 25 kilometres from Helsinki.
Three years ago Kaffa moved to the trendy Punavuori neighborhood in central Helsinki. Besides the roastery there’s also a coffee bar, serving espresso and filter coffee roasted right behind the glass doors.
Address: Pursimiehenkatu 29 A, behind Moko Market
MON – FRI: 7:45 – 18:00
SAT: 10:00 – 16:00
Run by Kaisa and Mikko Sarén, a husband and wife team, Kahvila Sävy is cheering up the coffee scene in Helsinki by serving excellent coffees supplied by Turun Kahvipaahtimo. Juhani Haahti, the solo operator of this true micro roastery, browns his beans in Turku, the old capital about 100 km west from Helsinki.
Last May Sävy moved to a larger space not far from the original one. Filter coffee is available both as batch brewed (fresh and tasty) or through AeroPress. After taking these photos they’ve changed the La Marzocco espresso machine in a lever one.
Address: Aleksis Kiven katu 12
MON – THU 7:30 – 18:00
FRI 7:30 – 17:00
SAT 10:00 – 16:00
Helsinki Coffee Roastery
Helsingin Kahvipaahtimo - Helsinki Coffee Roastery, as it translates from Finnish, has a very unique atmosphere. The old garage space hosting both the roastery and cafe has an unrefined, almost raw character. It’s filled with old, second-hand furniture, equipment and details yet everything is effortlessly blending with the new shiny machinery.
Owner Benjamin Andberg is running the roastery with Ulrika Hannula, the grand young lady of coffee in Finland. I knew that coffee was what I wanted to do after attending a half-a-day barista course led by her four years ago. It’s great to see them running this small operation together.
Although the cafe is a bit of out the way it’s definitely worth the visit. I’d recommend trying one of the single estate coffees through AeroPress.
Address: Päijänteentie 29
WED – FRI 7:30 – 17:00
SAT: 10:00 – 16:00
SUN – TUE CLOSED