Helsinki is not my favourite destination but
- it’s the quickest and the most convenient way for citizens of StP to take part in a well organised running race;
- it’s the quickest and the most entertaining way to get your stamps for Finnish visa;
- you can find pleasures everywhere.
First time in Helsinki both me and my husband had no idea what to do there, next time we’ve found Johan och Nyström, and a few trips later lots of specialty coffee spots appeared on our map.
Do not make our mistakes, stay away from numerous Robert’s Coffees (Robert was Paulig’s name, this means there’s nothing interesting unless you are a fan of McDonald’s coffee), buy a Starbucks mug for your collection and go find a damn fine cup of coffee using this guide.
500 m from railway station Artisan Café /Vuorikatu 8, 00100 Helsinki, Finland/ on map
Although Artisan Café is just 500m away from the railway station, it’s a well hidden gem. There are no tourist attractions on Vuorikatu, it looks like a giant stairway from one side – it’s very unlikely that you would look for coffee and breakfast here. We’ve found this place on one of our latest trips and were lucky enough to meet Jani Mikkonen, the founder of Artisan Café, nice and friendly guy passionate about coffee. In August there were Coffee Collective and Tim Wendelboe beans, fresh and various. The cafe serves some desserts (blueberry pie is amazing) and sandwiches, both meaty and vegetarian. And you know what? Pastrami sandwich is just awesome. My husband said it was a real New York pastrami taste.
1.2 km from railway station Johan och Nyström /Kanavaranta 7 C, 00160 Helsinki, Finland/ on map
Finnish headquarters of my favourite Swedish coffee maniacs Johan och Nyström has the most picturesque location among all the specialty coffee spots in Helsinki. If you are lucky enough to catch warm sunny weather in Helsinki, you can even sit outside and watch boats and birds and all kinds of sea life. If not, brick walls, bright colours and tons of cushions will help you get the warm and homey feeling inside. The cafe went through a really really nice renovation since my last visit in February. The shop is bigger now, the brew bar is covered with amazing emerald green tile and the whole place looks brighter. I’ve always loved Finnish Johan’s interior more than Swedish one, and now I love it even more!
If you are visiting in summer, you should definitely try summer Picnic blend. I know, I know, blends are for dummies, but this one is really good. Years pass but Picnic blend still holds the first place among summer coffees. There’s also a nice selection of teas, matcha latte and it’s closest relative – beet latte (on photo), overnight oats, amazing sandwiches, raw cakes and traditional pastry.
1.2 km from railway station Andante /Fredrikinkatu 20, 00120 Helsinki, Finland/ on map
Cafe combined with a flower shop. Sounds nice, huh?! Loved the place in advance and really wanted to get there. And that’s important – you should really want to get there. Regular opening hours are Wed-Sun (who needs coffee on Mondays?!), but on Wednesday in June we’ve got only “sorry we are closed” notice, and on Saturday in August we were met by “come back tomorrow” sign on the door. Finally, we’ve got in on Sunday in August. At that moment they were brewing Koppi beans from Helsingborg, Sweden, not fresh enough to be perfect. I was hoping to catch something more unusual like The Barn or La Cabra. Andante’s barista Nikko Guofeng Liu (second place winner on barista championship during Helsinki Coffee Festival 2017) used a peculiar device – December coffee dripper, and the result was delicious. But no matter how good was coffee and matcha latte, I did not like the place itself. It became overcrowded because of traditional hipster breakfast/branch options like granola or avocado toast, there was a feeling of rush not relaxation. Maybe, coffee to go is the perfect option for Andante. Coffee and flower to go.
1.8 km from railway station Kaffa Roastery /Pursimiehenkatu 29, 00150 Helsinki, Finland/ on map
Huge variety of brewing methods available (that’s the place where I had my first siphon coffee), a lot of beans to choose from, seasonal coffee drinks, matcha latte, raw cakes and traditional pastry. There’s also a couple of tables right in front of the roastery, where you can sit, sip your coffee and watch the entire roasting process. The whole place is sooo serious with it’s shop of coffee-making equipment and school of coffee and the giant Probat that I always have a feeling that I’m entering some sacred coffee lab. And the strangest thing is that I feel cozy and comfortable in there – that’s one of the most important attributes of a good cafe of me and may be one of the reasons why people voted Kaffa Roastery for the most-loved cafe in Finland on Helsinki Coffee Festival’2017.
7 km from railway station Maja Coffee Roastery /Lehtisaarentie 1, 00340 Helsinki, Finland/ on map
A long time ago (in 2013) on an island far, far away from Helsinki city centre (7 to 10 km according to Google maps) the tiniest roastery and cafe I’ve ever seen was opened. Y’know, 120 square feet for brew bar, two tables and a roaster! There’s no simple way to get to Maja, 7 km is a long walk, and public transport route is also knotty including a walk, a tram and a bus, but you should try at least once. The beans are fresh and roasted good – we tried and took away a bag of Kenya. There’s no espresso machine and no espresso based drinks on the menu – manual brew only. There’s also tea, cake, cardboard globe and funny comics about bicycle trip to Europe.