Tag Archives: coffee

Pakistani way of enjoying Finnishness

When talking about Finland often you will see people talking about how they are introverts and how boring it can get in Finland, if you do not know how to have fun that might be true.

Being a person who was born and raised in the hot region of Saudi Arabia while being from Pakistan, I already had a pretty high tolerance for weather and different kinds of people. Coming to Finland was more of an adventurous experience for me, with a mindset of achieving what I had in mind and making loads of connections which was a must given the studies at TAMK.

There are a lot habits I may have picked up on to better understand Finland and enjoy its all year round winter and most importantly keeping yourself warm and motivated in such weather. Although, coming from a hot place such as Saudi, my cold tolerance should have been little to none but even my Finnish friends are surprised as to how much I can take tolerate. On the other hand, I just believe Finnish people have low tolerance for cold at least the Finns in my circle.

MUNKKI

Image result for munkki

This treat that is much more than just a sugar coated doughnut is the perfect combination with your morning coffee. Although I have not seen a lot of Finns do that but I guess I can get a bit creative when it comes to mixing up cultures and creating new combinations in general. Of course one is not enough and if you eat too much then you would be ruining your summer body, luckily for you there is a lot of time until summer, here in Finland. A fun challenge could be, as the famous saying goes you are a legend if you can eat munkki without licking your lips (as in cleaning the sugar that gets stuck to your lips and mouth), Try it the next time you have one or the first time you have one!

 

AVANTO

What I am about to tell you is going to blow your mind and you might think that is crazy talk but here in Finland we actually can prove that nothing is crazy talk we do crazy on daily basis. One of the best activities and a great way to bond with your friends or friends you just made is to go to Avanto. Although I am not quite sure what the activity is called but my friends and I have been calling it Avanto and that’s what we would like to call it for forever more. This is also a very interesting activity as you may learn a lot about your new friend circle or just a great way to better understand your friends and their personalities.

So imagine having -15 degrees which is not a lot in Finnish scale and image there is a hole in the lake within the ice/snow and you have a sauna that is almost always 95 degrees hot, now imagine combining these into a crazy adventurous activity cycle that lasts for usually an hour. Apart from the health benefits you can gain from such an exercise, you need to have certain amounts of guts and daredevil attitude to do something crazy like this. You start off by taking a shower and then relaxing in the sauna when you feel your body is  getting to hot or you feel as in you have enjoyed enough then you go to the hole or body of water in ice which is actually warmer than the temperature outside (usually 1-3 degrees) and you take a dip. I have not dip my head in the water all these years but I have been told you feel like you might pass out so remember, other than your head you can go crazy and dip in for as long as you want and then you come out (not to forget all of this happens outside so the -15 is not a foreign factor playing a part but your best pal in a way). After the dipping and if everything including your hair hasn’t already frozen and is about to fall you go back into the sauna and basically “melt off” and relax.

Although you can repeat the cycle as much as you want but do remember to take some sausages with you to fully enjoy the experience and needless to say all this hot and cold mess is going to make you very hungry. Image result for avanto

SOLU

I still remember having a group with my friends called SoluBois, but this if you know TAMK you would know where to get your free coffee from and if you did not know, well now you know. Not only is it a place to just get free coffee but the Student Lounge is so relaxing and calming that it does give you a bit of extra motivation during your lecture breaks. I have been in various parts of the world in very interesting situations but Solu is by far the best place to meet new and interesting people, where you do have the sign of “No discrimination” but you still do discuss heavy politics and in general heavy topics with a person you JUST met. Of course all of that while respecting the other person and keeping it a healthy debate, however, time spent in Solu has definitely made it worth the while and almost certainly guarantees a smile on your face even if you have 10 minutes to spare.

My advice would be, before listening to people’s opinion about how boring it can get and how there is almost nothing to do in Finland try the activities locals do, the culture is filled with different sorts of vibrant and colourful stuff even if the weather is not so colorful. Definitely, trying avanto will grant you a lifetime experience and will certainly introduce something about your personality that you were not aware of.

Also don’t forget to eat a lot of munkkis and drink a lot of coffee so that you are hydrated and warm within your winter jacket.

Finnish Indulgence – Coffee and Korvapuusti

Apart from the obviously common Sauna, I want to introduce two favorite indulgences by the Finns – the bitter, slightly acidic, lightly roasted black coffee and the sweet, buttery, cinnamon-flavoured korvapuusti. The combination of sweet pie and bitter drink for an afternoon enjoyment reflects the Finnishness cherish for life.

 

(Picture by Paulig Barista Institute)

 

Coffee

Finns love coffee. According to the International Coffee Association, each Finn consumes 12 kilograms of coffee per year, or 2 – 3 cups per day. And the beverage is enjoyed by everyone: a college student who needs to meet his assignment deadline, a worker who needs a boost to kick-start his day, an elder who wants something to savor with her cake in the evening. In Finland, all people in working life are blessed with two legal 10-minute coffee breaks. And with a lunch break, it is understandable that 3 cups of coffee every day is normal for the Finns. The reasons for Finnish affinity for coffee remain inexplicable. Some people attribute their love to sentimental connections, as coffee appears in all sorts of celebrations or ceremonies: when a baby is born, Finns drink coffee; when a student enter College or graduate , Finns drink coffee; when people marry; Finns drink coffee; when one gets a promotion, Finns drink coffee. Coffee is attached to Finnish daily routine and significant memories.

 

Korvapuusti

To accompany their love for the dark caffeine drink, the Finns accompany a cup of coffee with a sweet buns. They have special term for this: pullakahvit. Usually, the bun is a korvapuusti – a pastry of flour, sugar and butter, cinnamon, and a dash of cardamom, sprinkled with large crystal of nib sugar on top. Co-founder and baker of artisan bakery Helsinki Homemade, Klaus Ittonen added “The special ingredients of the korvaapuusti is love…. The korvapuusti needs to be made with love in order to get it right. It sounds a bit silly but that’s the way it is”. Pullakahvit, coffee and bun, every afternoon is the Finnish highlight of the day. “An enjoyment that brings back memories from people’s childhoods… Good coffee paired with a homemade korvapuusti makes the world a better place” Ittonen shares his passion for this Finnishness.

 

Reference articles

https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/jori-korhonen/september-2018/finnish-coffee-culture-one-kind

http://www.fallintofinland.com/about-finland/finnish-coffee-culture-lifecycle-of-coffee-addicted-finns/

https://finland.fi/arts-culture/exploring-the-finnish-affinity-for-coffee/

 

The makings of a Finn

What is Finnishness to a Finn? If you ask me, or pretty much any Finn around, there are certain things that will always show up: sauna, sisu, salmiakki. The “Three S’ of Finnish Survival”, if you will. But those three words are already quite well known and connected to Finnishness, so why wouldn’t I look into some other concepts that define a Finn?

Space

Finns are all about that space, whether it’s personal space or space for living. Personal space is well defined and wide-ranged, and entering it without permission is a cardinal mistake. It isn’t to say that Finns are rude – that is, most of the time – but we just simply enjoy our solitude when we are not actively engaging in a conversation with someone. Naturally, this wide personal space of Finns is also a source of many jokes as the one below (which, by the way, is painfully accurate):

Finnish Nightmares: Sharing a bus stop

Aside from valuing our personal space we also value the space around us. Finland is the eighth largest country by area in Europe yet our population is way smaller than any of the countries of the same scale – and even out of that the majority is concentrated in the southern coastline, leaving the northern half mostly natural and sparsely populated. Even in cities you can usually reach a forest quite easily, without the need to travel for hours on end. It isn’t unusual for us Finns to spend our holidays in the nature, away from the constant rush and stress, possibly relaxing at a desolate mökki cottage where the nearest neighbour can be kilometers away. After all, being constantly near other people can be very draining for a Finn!

Pride

Finnish pride is a concept that manifests in several ways. First of all, Finns are awfully proud to keep their face and will not ask others for help. In any situation. Ever.

If you see a Finn fall during winter they won’t wait for you to help – no, they glance around to see if anyone noticed, then scramble on their feet and pretend it didn’t hurt a single bit.

Finnish Nightmares: Being offered help

Finns are also very proud as a nation, which shows especially well whenever our weird little nation gets recognized in the world news, referenced in a work of art, or – and this is the real deal – whenever Finland beats Sweden in any sport ever, but especially in ice hockey. A common phrase for these occurrences is “Torilla tavataan” – “We will meet at the market square”, which means a great celebration is in order.

Coffee

Let’s face it, we just love our coffee. And not just any coffee, but the kind that doesn’t taste quite as rich as southern European dark roast, that makes your hands shake after a couple of cups, and that can be consumed without milk or sugar but only by those who have a stomach of steel. Perhaps it comes as a surprise, but Finland is on the top of the list of biggest coffee consumers in the world! Nowadays several different blends and special espresso-based coffees have taken their place in the café blackboards, but when it boils down to it, it’s the good old, slightly bitter cup with milk and/or sugar that really defines the Finnish coffee scene.

Finnish Nightmares: No coffee

 

(All images are from “Finnish Nightmares” by Karoliina Korhonen!)

A Love Confession for Finland

In this post I’d like to raise some topics about Finland from the immigrant’s point of view. I moved to Finland about four years ago and I think that was absolutely right decision. It’s a long story, but when I decided to move, I had no idea about the Finnish culture, local language and so on. So, here are a few aspects about Finland, some things that are close to me:

The language
As I mentioned above, I did not know a thing about the Finnish language and when I first came here and heard the speech around – the first thougths were that Finnish sounds just like some Asian language – Japanese or something. All these Ä and Ö on the signboards were amusing and unusual to me. It actually felt like a language of the aliens from outer space.
Indeed, Finnish is like no other! It has almost nothing in common with the most languages. But I gotta say – it was surprisignly easy to learn. Most people claim that Finnish is extremely difficult, but my opinion is – yes, the words are unusual, but it the grammar is very logical and it doesn’t have genders, yay! All in all, the Finnish language is unique and beautiful, it’s soft and pleasant to the ear.

Of course it has its challenges, but I’m used to it and I like Finnish very much. I use it everyday at school and work and I’m happy to know such a rare language. In the picture on the left you can see one of my everyday struggles.

 

 

 

 


Quality of life and the opportunities

The locals may not always notice this, but Finland is one of the best places to live in the world. It also gives incredible opportunities for people living here of any age and occupation. I was surprised, and I still am, how this country is able to use and allocate the resources making it possible to help students, unemployed people, people with disabilities and so on, just as an example. It is felt that the environment for life is made for people considering their needs.
A culture of caring is felt in different spheres of life, in big things and the details.

This topic can be discussed endlessly, so let’s move on.

The people
They say Finns are shy and prefer not to talk –
I don’t agree at all! I believe that this is just a stereotype that the most people just keep repeating.
99% of Finns are friendly and talkative enough. I really like Finns – mostly they are positive, responsible, rational and punctual. I like their love of hockey and coffee. Since I moved, I started to watch the games and drinking coffee everyday – true story! The culture had a sighnificant influence on me and I don’t mind.

Conclusion
Everything is relative and gets to know by comparison. All these things I took from my experience, but I’m sure you’re going to agree with some of the points.

P.S.: Thank you for everything, Finland.

Picture sources:
https://fi.pinterest.com/pin/463941199090502106/?lp=true
https://www.meme-arsenal.com/create/meme/326086
http://finnishnightmares.blogspot.com

Finnishness for me

Introverted and quiet

If I have to describe the main personality trait in a Finn, it would probably be introverted and fairly quiet. People talk here when they have something to say. There is no chit chat, no pointless banter. silence is golden in here. The lack of small talk reflects to our speaking. If you ask something you better be prepared for straight answer.

All in all, we like our silence but a Finn can also be very talkative and outgoing when you really get to know them. The better you know them the more outgoing they will become.

 

Coffee culture

Finns are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world. When you look at the consumption of coffee per capita, there we are, – right at the top of the list. It’s not like our country is situated even remotely close to an area where it would be possible to grow coffee beans. But still, we consume about 12 kilos of coffee a year, per capita. I guess that has something to do with our dark and cold winter time.

Coffee is so important to us Finns that we have a legitimate coffee break officially added to our work days.

In Finland, we have lots of different kind of coffee houses. I think that a good coffee house is a place you don’t mind spending hours tucked away studying on your laptop hiding from the frosty winter air or just spending time with your friends. It´s not always all about the coffee itself. It´s also about the atmosphere and the company the time you enjoy it.

 

The archipelago

 If you are into sailing or boating and you have not yet been to Finland, there is a unique sailing experience just waiting for you.

Finland is referred to as the land of the thousand lakes, but that is a serious understatement. Finland has 180.000 lakes and almost as many islands. Just the Archipelago Sea alone has about 40.000 islands.

Even though the best thing about the archipelago is its nature, there is also no shortage of cultural offerings here. There are countless old stone churches, nature trails, excellent museums, outstanding hotels, cosy cafés, village shops and fine dining establishments.

Truth about the Finns

When I thought about Finland and what finnishness meant to me, these stereotypes about Finns came to my mind. I’m going to present a few of them in the pictures below. What makes the pics more fun is because they are actually so true!

Coffee consumption

”It’s time for a cup of a coffee.” The Finns are known for the largest coffee consumption in the world with about 2,6 cups per day. Finns usually drink very light roasted coffee, which is lighter than anywhere else in the world. Coffee has always been a part of my daily life and Finnish culture. For example, coffee is served at workplaces (free of charge), at birthdays and at home. Finns must also get their morning coffee and it’s a huge disaster if there’s none of it. TIP: It’s a great way to get to know a Finn by asking him to go for a coffee.

Small talk

Small talk – there is not even a word for that in finnish. Maybe word “jutustelu”, but it does not exactly mean the same. Most of the Finns are introverts and chatting with a stranger feels uncomfortable, so the silence is a better option. For example, if you’re waiting for a bus on the bus stop, you don’t want that anyone talks to you. Not even asking you about the weather (which is always bad). In my case, I just want to listen to music and survive through the day (especially through a morning without a cup of coffee).

Usually, when some foreigner asks you “How are you?”, we usually start to tell about our bad day at work instead of answering “Fine, thanks!” and asking “How about you?”. Why do Finns behave like this? I have heard an explanation that says because Finns are interested in what other people are saying, they are expecting that the other side is also listening. Finns are also better in listening than talking, and in the Finnish culture it’s inappropriate to interrupt the one who is speaking.

Personal space

Finns respect each other and a personal space. It’s said that a comfortable space between strangers is approximately 1,5 meters. TIP: When you are having a conversation with a Finn, and you notice that the other one is trying to get further from you, then you’re too close and you should give more space.

Finns prefer to take free seats on the bus, instead of sitting next to someone strange, like in this picture below. Usually, when I get on a bus, first thing is that I’m looking for free seats and if there are none, I might rather stand. In my opinion, Finns do not like to be loud and in a public place that would be uncomfortable. Once, when I was getting off the bus, I pushed the stop button but the doors didn’t open. There were me and a few others, standing and waiting quietly for the doors to open until someone finally had to say something to the bus driver (and that wasn’t me) for him to open the doors.

 

A few things about Finland

Cold, dark and lots of snow; these are the things that pop into most people’s heads when asked about Finland. To me, however, Finland has always been at its best during the summer. There are several jokes about the Finnish summer, like how short it is, but at least it doesn’t snow much, or how last year Finnish summer was on a Tuesday. Still, cold or warm, wet or dry, there’s nothing that compares to it, to me at least. Everyplace is green, and you can literally smell it in the air. Seriously, if you’ve ever wondered what the color green smells like, just come to Finland in the summer.

tampere kesä

 

Still, it is the light that has the biggest effect on people. Or that’s what I think anyway. See, most people remember Finland for how dark it is in the winter, but what they forget is how light it is in the summer. The sun just doesn’t seem to want to do down. It really is in the summer that the Finnish nature, and even more, the Finnish people, come alive. Or maybe that’s just me.

keskiyönaurinko

 

Despite the coldness of our winter – and sometimes the summer as well, there is one food that Finns enjoy more than any other country in Europe, and that’s ice cream. Even if you look at the whole world, we eat more ice cream per person than almost any country in the world, only Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders eat more. We eat approximately 12 liters of ice cream every year, and considering the ice cream “season” only lasts approximately from June to August that is a lot of ice cream to eat. Our ice cream consumption is only rivaled by our coffee consumption, where we are undisputed winners with 10kg per person per year. In Finland, ice cream and coffee are literally their own food groups and during the summer it feels like there isn’t a street corner where you can’t find a hot cup of coffee, and a cold ice cream cone.

vanilja_kenya

Finland is full of large forests and beautiful lakes, and many tourists come here to enjoy the gorgeous nature. Despite that, you shouldn’t ignore the city life in Finland. Our cities seem small to us compared to the metropolises of the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find things to do in Tampere or Helsinki. Finns, just like the rest of the world, are busy, city-dwelling people, not some mystic nation living in the forest, in igloos, communing with wild animals. That isn’t to say we don’t enjoy our beautiful nature and everything it has to offer but sometimes ordering takeout home without having to leave your couch is just as enjoyable.

helsinki

Finnishness

My typical Finnish morning: I could sleep till 8am but I’m already putting on my socks at 7am. If it’s winter it’s as dark as in a bat cave. If it’s summer birds and the light may have woken me up even earlier. On mornings I want to drink my Juhlamokka at peace before heading to adventures of the day. Juhlamokka is most common coffee brand in Finland. Although sometime ago I switched to some foreign coffee and I have to admit that I’m never going back. Waking up early comes up with other benefits besides coffee time.

  1. I am rarely late. It would be embarrassing to be late because Finnish people are punctual. You shouldn’t keep another people waiting for you. As a Finn I don’t want to draw any extra attention to myself. Walking around under the radar feels good.Most of us don’t want to be the center of attention. So I guess that the typical stereotype of Finns is somewhat truthful. Yes, many of us are quiet but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t social, vice versa. For example it is a necessity for me to hang around with people. In big groups I don’t feel so comfortable and I might seem quiet. But on the other hand in smaller groups I’m sometimes even “loud”. aQnMN77_700b
  2.  When I’m sipping my (foreign) coffee in the breakfast table, I usually browse mobile app called 9GAG. It’s a website where people can put up funny pictures, comics and videos. You can comment on these posts and have a discussion with other people. Almost every time I open this app I will come across pictures or jokes about Finland. When I see the picture I already know what the most popular comment will say: ”Torille!”. Yeah, Finland was mentioned! We feel a bit of proud when our small nation is mentioned somewhere, but on the same time we are sarcastic about it. It’s Finnish dilemma. We are a nation which queues hours for free buckets but at the same time we laugh at ourselves for doing so.a6QKVde_700b

 

All in all I think that most of us are truly proud to be from Finland. When putting things on a perspective things are good in Finland. We have beautiful nature, pure food and water, excellent schools, a working healthcare system and etc. We just have to remember it and not to take it all for granted.