Over the past several years, it’s been increasingly difficult to deny the influence of Scandinavian culture on everything from design to fashion to fine dining. One aspect of the Nordic lifestyle that has certainly captured international attention is the pervasive coffee culture.
The nation of Norway currently ranks as one of the world leaders of coffee consumption worldwide. Nordic coffee has subsequently become something of a trend everywhere, as indicated by the recent appearance of a variety of Nordic-inspired coffeehouses cropping up in affluent neighbourhoods in cities as diverse as New York and Tokyo.
Coffee connoisseurs around the world are finding that the Norwegians are changing the way we all drink our favourite caffeinated beverage. Roasteries in Oslo are known for brewing black coffee so rich it tastes sweet, and as most Norwegians wouldn’t be caught dead adding milk or cream to their coffee, they have developed a light brewing method that allows the natural flavours of the coffee bean to linger.
The surprisingly fruity and sweet flavour of their coffee is dissimilar to the sugary-sweet lattes and cappuccinos popular in most Western nations right now. In fact, many veteran coffee drinkers find the first taste of a traditional turkaffe (literally “hiking coffee,” so named because it was first prepared by campers over an open fire) rather jarring.
However, Norwegian coffee grows on you. It typically has a light, full-bodied flavour unfamiliar to those who prefer darker roasts. You can create the authentic experience of brewing turkaffe, without braving the mountainous terrain and risking heavy rain, by investing in a stylish enamel drip kettle. For traditional brewing, the Wilfa coffeemaker, manufactured in Norway, is a luxury state-of-the-art brewing device engineered for extreme precision and optimal brewing temperatures.
The KaffeBox Nordic Roast subscription box provides international coffee fanatics with a monthly dose of Scandinavia’s best coffee. Additionally, the company sells camping mugs, kettles, filters, glass coffee servers, stir sticks, and branded swag.
If you would prefer to grab a cup on the go, there are coffee bars in most major cities that serve imported coffee while maintaining a distinctly Nordic aesthetic. Brooklyn’s Oslo Coffee Roasters is becoming a hotspot for New Yorkers craving a slower pace, while Toronto’s chic FIKA Café, located in Kensington Market, routinely draws in crowds. On the other side of the pond, London’s Nordic Bakery chain serves not only coffee, but also classic Scandinavian cakes and cookies.
Norway was at the forefront of the modern café culture that took off about twenty years ago, though Norwegians are still much more likely to support their favourite local roasteries than patronize a chain like Starbucks. Coffeehouses in Oslo and other metropolitan areas in Norway remain busy well into the evening, and the communal experience invites conversation and friendliness.
Norwegians have built their society on a culture of security and trust, which means they are generally warm and friendly people. If you’re an introvert who traditionally drinks your first — and second — cup at home, try stepping out of your comfort zone for a few hours and set up shop in a local coffee bar. Don’t be afraid of small talk with strangers or quiet observation. Pay some kindness forward while listening to the music and general ambient noise around you, and take your time indulging.
It can be speculated that Scandinavians value slow living and possess a sensitivity to nature that lends itself to a feeling of inner peace. Year after year, their country ranks as one of the happiest nations on earth; last year, it took the top spot according to the World Happiness Report. If you want to start drinking coffee like a Norwegian, changing your mindset might be equally as important as changing your blend.