This weekend was full of events. I know many of you are waiting for my report from Grad Champagne (it was awesome), but I want to put some more time and effort into writing that. So today I will focus on the Helsinki Coffee Festival instead, where we found ourselves just by chance. M saw a poster on the wall of one of our favorite third wave cafes, and luckily the event was near to where we were staying – the Helsinki Cable Factory event hall. The tickets for the morning were 15 euros from the door and 12 euros if you bought them online. The fare included access to the event and an endless flow of samples of coffee.The event was bigger than we thought. Both artisan micro roasters and mainstream coffee moguls were present, as well as some equipment manufacturers like Mocka Master and Wilfa, tea merchants and coffee subscription companies. What struck us the most was that there were quite many small roasters from smaller cities in Finland, ones that we had never heard of before. We tend to think that we are well on top of who is up and coming, but several of these wizards of coffee had slipped our radar. Maybe our radar is a bit rusty.
Of course at such an event you had the usual suspects: Good Life Coffee, Caffi, Kaffa Roastery and Johan & Nyström. Of these, our undisputed favorite is Good Life. We are frequent visitors to their café in Kallio, M is actually on a first name basis with the owner and most of the staff. Their absence from the coffee shop was what alerted M in the first place, and as he saw the event poster, he did not have to think twice where everyone was. At the festival, Good Life was also selling their signature mugs with “Avoid Bad Life” written on them. I have been drooling over having one for so long, and finally I was able to make the purchase.
The roasters that were new to us were Inka Paahtimo, Holmen Coffee, Lehmus Roastery, Death before Decaf and Keakoffee. Additionally, Rocket Bean, a Latvian micro roaster that M has visited in Riga was present. The best of the new were Inka, Holmen Coffee and Lehmus. All three had interesting single origin roasts; Lehmus had a wonderful Gesha that was just to die for. It came out great with a V60, but we thought it would be worth trying to brew it on ice. We think it will be fantastic as a cold brew. We also bought some beans from Inka, Lehmus, Rocket Bean and Holmen Coffee. Now we have several kilos of coffee at home to devour during the coming month.
The coffee festival was not only stands and coffee samples, there was a comprehensive program with speakers and competitions happening on the stage. The topics included: how to make the perfect cup at home, how water effects the taste of coffee and how to take the perfect coffee-picture (I unfortunately missed that one). On Saturday, there was also the Cup Tasters Finnish championships, where competitors had to identify from series of three cups of coffee, which does not belong in the same group. Coffee is a serious business.
All in all, our expectations were exceeded. We found new brand new roasters, tasted probably twenty to thirty new coffees and had cheap coconut and whiskey cream ice creams (1€ per scoop). The only thing that perhaps bothered me was that there was not natural light inside. The weather was lovely, so after a few hours inside the Cable Factory, coming out felt like I was exiting a cave. The cost of the event was very reasonable, although next year, I will ask for a press ticket.