29 June 2013

The Helsinki Caffeine Chronicles Part II

I was too busy working this week to go off and explore the outer reaches of Helsinki, but on my last day, I did have a couple of spare hours before I had to head off to the airport. Armed with only three addresses, I managed to do a two-hour walk through Helsinki's design district (of which more to come) and saw a lot of my favourite things: coffee bars, stylish homeware boutiques, stationery shops and fine architecture.

Kaffa Roastery, Helsinki.

Address number one was Pursimiehenkatu 29, home of Kaffa Roastery, who provide the beans to Fratello and various other cafés and restaurants in the city. I had been worried I wouldn't be able to make it to Kaffa, but Helsinki's small size meant that it turned out to be only a brisk 15-minute walk from my hotel.

Kaffa is very design-oriented, and they really like bright yellow, paired with black. Yellow isn't my favourite colour, but I love their logo and their yellow business card, which quotes Samuel L. Jackson's character in Pulp Fiction ranting about coffee. After browsing the selection of beans for a few minutes, I realised that tasting notes mean even less to me when they are in Finnish, so I asked the barista's advice. She recommended an Ethiopian coffee and whipped me up an Aeropress brew. It was a bargain at only €2.50, and I really could taste the notes of ginger.

Beautiful Finnish design. Great Finnish coffee (via Ethiopia).

I sipped my coffee from a very stylish cup, admiring the reflections of the building opposite in my drink. Kaffa has a guest book you can write, or preferably draw, a message. They also seem to have won various barista-ing awards. They really know their coffee here. I was just sad that I'd already had too much coffee, and didn't get to try out the macchiato. The roastery is also connected to a fabulous interior design concept store and café, called Moto Market (of which more to come). All in all, it's a pretty awesome place.

Too many coffee goodies to choose from!

The other coffee bar I tested out was an impulse-caffeination. Walking around the design distract, I spotted Kaffecentralen on Fredrikinkatu. I wasn't sure whether to go inside, but it looked like a cool place so I poked my head inside. It is more of a roastery and purveyor of coffee accessories than a café, but I did get sample their macchiato, while perched in a window seat. It was actually pretty good: quite strong and full-bodied.


Double macchiato.

I then had to try really hard not to shell out on a beautiful, expensive coffee machine or grinder. Some of these Helsinki coffee bars make even Prufrock, with its £30 Aeropresses, seem like it's missing a trick. Kaffeecentralen sell bags of tea too, but of the posh, stylish variety. They have two other branches, both in the design district.

I want to buy all the things.

Beautiful coffee machines.

Kaffa Roastery. Pursimiehenkatu 29, 00150 Helsinki. Website. Twitter.
Kaffecentralen. Fredrikinkatu 59, 00100 Helsinki. Website.

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