French president trying Finnish coffee goes viral. It’s easy to see why

The French President Emmanuel Macron visited Finland this week. Amidst all the pomp and splendour of his mini-break, he took time to visit Helsinki’s Market Square. After checking out the stalls, he popped into one of the market’s tent cafes for a quick coffee with Sauli Niinistö. It was clearly not what he was expecting. His expression, once his lips tasted a brew as dark as the Finnish mid-winter, conveyed all you need to know about Finnish coffee. The internet, including my own Very Finnish Problems, had a ball.

“Do you call this coffee?” wrote Saara Nevala putting imagined words into Macron’s mouth. She doesn’t record Niinistö imagined response.

22 replies

  1. I can take a lot of jokes about us Finns, but don’t mess with our coffee – it is really good (when you select good coffee or beans). 🙂

    • Yes it’s true that’s what you call high end you pay dearly for it but in other countries it’s day to day coffee.but now with the 2 leaders having a cup,that’s Finnish brand kulta Katrina President and the worst of the lot juhla mohca as a seasend chef those are the most horrible coffee’s I have ever drank.Ducth national brand Dewy ekbergs very good …The truth.

    • While there is very good coffee to be had from (incredibly expensive) small roasters, Juhlamokka, like most of the other standard filter coffees here, is a unique blend of sour, bitter and thin. I can only use it as a drug when absolutely necessary.

  2. I didn’t know Finnish coffee was such shit until I lived 2 years in Spain 🙂 It is amazing that we are the biggest consumers of coffee per person in the whole world but the quality of the coffee people mostly consume here is so low.

    • What I’ve heard, the quality of the lightly roasted beans needs to be higher so I guess it’s not about quality but a matter of taste ?

  3. Ha I know a Frenchman who lived in Turku for a year (and otherwise loved it) who referred to the coffee as “sock juice” 🙂 🙂

  4. This is a same kind of thing that Finnish beer is bad. The mainstream stuff is but you can find craft beers as well as coffee from smaller roasterys. The Juhlamokka is poison.

  5. The standard light roast juhlamokka really is really bad. and even if in this occasion they would serve the “better” presidentti it’s not much better.

  6. Wait until you have tasted the Norwegian coffee!
    When I first did, (and it did tasted like dirty dishes water) I went to the lady at the bar and asked: are you sure you don’t have an espresso? She did have a machine and she actually gave me an espresso without having to pay for it! I thought, how understanding!

  7. I have had the pleasure of drinking coffee all over Finland and in my honest opinion the Finns brew the best cup of coffee in the world.

  8. The coffee in Finland is light roasted because back in the war days coffee was in short supply. Roasting the beans shrinks them so the darker the roast, the less end product so light roast was more economical. We got used to it and it stayed on.

  9. My employer used to be a Swedish-Finnish joint venture. My impression from most of my Finnish colleagues was that the only thing they thought Sweden did better than Finland was brewing coffee.

    • Lighter roast does not mean more cafeine. The roasting process have very little to do with the amount of cafeine in your beverage. The variety of the beans + the brewing method are the two variables that influence the most how much cafeine end up in your cup (and in your body).

      • During the roasting process, a bean loses its mass. … If you measure your coffee by scoops, light roasted coffee will have more caffeine. Since the beans are denser than a darker roast. However if you weigh out your scoops, darker roasts will have more caffeine, because there is less mass.

  10. Finnish coffee is different but tastes great, especially, if you compare it to what the Americans (my country) call “coffee”.

  11. Macron was apparently underwhelmed by the Juhla Mokka at Kauppatori. But is it representative of Finnish coffee ? I was tempted to give it a try as I did not drink coffee during my brief stay in Helsinki a couple of years ago. However, it looks like this Paulig coffee, which might be the Finnish equivalent of Maxwell House, is costing an arm and a leg from Amazon.

  12. ‘Have to agree with AA’s remarks. Let’s face it: The overwhelming amount of coffee drunk at homes in Finland–probably between 70 and 90 percent–is produced by Juhla, virtually a monopoly, even if that has been changing slowly.
    Juhla, light OR DARK, blows away any national brand of coffee from USA. And any American artisan brand I have ever tasted, too, including those sometimes rated tops by Consumer Reports professional taste testers, who use adjectives like woody, burnt, earthy, and fruity in their blind tastings.
    AFAIAC, If you’ve once had ANY cup of Juhla and then go back to, e.g., Folgers, the latter tastes like paska. All the Juhla varieties I’ve drunk have a smooth, refined flavor that has spoiled me for other brews.

  13. “tasted a brew as dark as the Finnish mid-winter”

    Finnish coffee isn’t dark though. It’s a light roast. I lived in Finland for a year but I never learned to appreciate their coffee.

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