Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Starbucks: coffee and Alvar Aalto

Finland is a country that loves coffee. The consumption is the highest in the world with 12kg per capita! The American giant from Seattle couldn't ignore any longer this little country. Opened in fall 2013 in the city center in the same building as the Stockmann Academic book store, the second Starbucks café is never empty. At rush hour the queue is so long that sometimes, customers have to wait outside. This place is very popular mostly among teenage girls. In summer, a little terrace is open.

While queuing, customers have time to be tempted by one of the numerous additional items: coffee beans, coffee powders and cups. The special "Finland" and "Helsinki" coffee cups sets can be a perfect souvenir to bring home. The thermo cups have the same design and it's a good solution for keeping your drink warm for a couple of hours wherever you go. For all the coffee enthusiasts, there is a coffee tasting session every Wednesday at 12pm.

What is special about this café is that it doesn't look like all the other Starbucks around the world. Inside, the place is radically different, with a Finnish touch. The small place is decorated with furniture designed by Finland's greatest architect and designer from the 20th century: Alvar Aalto. All the tables, chairs and lamps were purchased at the Artek 2nd Cycle shop that sells second hand furinture from Aalto. But why so many references to Aalto? First, the building was designed by himself, and upstairs there is another café named after him. Another reason might be that Finns are really connected to everything that is Finnish. Starbucks has understood it well and it was probably a way to seduce local customers who are not necessarily aware of the American brand.


The place was visited on July 20th, 2014 at 16:50. I was pretty excited to taste a coffee there as it was only my forth Starbucks experience after Geneva, Lausanne and Helsinki airport. The line was quite long but the workers are very efficient and friendly. In less that 10 minutes the coffee cup was in the hand. I ordered a frappuccino coffee. I heard that it was one of Starbucks classics and I thought that it might be one of their best drinks. As I didn't know if I liked it or not, I chose the smallest size. The drink was served in a transparent cup with whipped cream. Unfortunatelly, I didn't like the drink and was unable to finish it. It was far too sweet. It is also an expensive drink: 4€.

Despite the fact that the drink was not convincing, the place has a great atmosphere and is worth a visit.

If you like fancy coffees but prefer something more local, visit a Robert's coffee.

1 comment:

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