Morning Coffee: Café Ekberg, Helsinki


Inside Café Ekberg, Helsinki

Most people don’t think of coffee when you mention Helsinki. The usual things that come to mind are death metal bands, formula one racers, and blonde people. Nevertheless, statistics show that Finns are the biggest coffee drinkers on earth. They drink almost twice as much coffee as the French, and nearly three times more than us. It is no surprise that Helsinki, the capital city, has loads of great coffee shops.

But I don’t drink coffee, though I still like to linger in cafés. So I stopped by the oldest café in town: Café Ekberg, which opened on February 3, 1852. It is small, yet quiet and sophisticated. More importantly, it provided me with the instant shelter from the chilly Finnish winter I was seeking.

I went for a delicious frothy hot chocolate. The place was full of formal Finns in evening attire. But then the sun rose and I remembered it was daytime, 10:00 AM, still somewhat dark, not really helping my jet lag. I looked around at the stiff elderly blond women and quiet gentlemen serving themselves heaping plates at the Nordic breakfast buffet table. I felt surreal, like an extra in a David Lynch movie, or should I say Aki Kaurismäki.

But that’s how I expected to feel in Finland, so there wasn’t any culture shock.


Outside the Bio Rex Cinema café, Helsinki

This entry was written by Patrick Donovan , posted on Saturday February 02 2008at 01:02 am , filed under Europe, Interior Space, Society and Culture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Response to “Morning Coffee: Café Ekberg, Helsinki”

  • “But that’s how I expected to feel in Finland, so there wasn’t any culture shock.”


    The café looks like a cross between a generic hotel restaurant and a traditional Hungarian café.