the history of coffee party in finland

the history of coffee party in finland


I suppose that by the expression “coffee party” you are meaning the "coffee klatch". Coffee is among the most important parts of Finland’s cultural history. It is often said that Finns drink more coffee than any other nation in the world. Coffee came to Finland around the 1730’s from Sweden, as did many other popular things. The coffee house culture began to flourish in Finland, but it never reached the same popularity as in Western Europe. From Turku the coffee culture spread out to Helsinki and to the other bigger towns. The import of coffee was prohibited in 1756-1761. After the king Gustaf IV Adolf of Sweden removed the restrictions of coffee the import gradually conquered the rural areas. The bourgeoisie in towns and the wealthy people in the countryside began to use coffee in their festivities like weddings and funerals.

In the end of the 19th century, coffee was an everyday beverage in the whole country in spite of its very high price. In the country, people used to visit each others homes spontaneously to drink coffee together without a specific invitation, while in town it was customary to celebrate e.g. birthdays and other festivities with the power of coffee.

During the 2nd World War Finland was in an immediate need of coffee, because imports were practically impossible. The situation led people to use e.g. roots of dandelions and barley as a substitute of coffee. The shortage of coffee continued in the 1950’s because the public economy was still weak from the war-time conditions. Nowadays the idea of a specific “coffee klatch” has almost vanished despite the fact that even young people use to meet in famous coffee rooms, and the traditional coffee culture has been substituted by other forms of social life.

You might be interested in searching more material concerning the subject in the data-base of the IGS archive of Helsinki City Library, where you can find at least one detailed answer for your question. Please, see also the following links:

(1): See the term coffee clatch, e.g. Rekiaro, Ilkka: Suomi-englanti-suomi sanakirja. Jyväskylä, Gummerus, 1995

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