In the opinion of many speciality tea and coffee is still an emerging scene in Helsinki. I agree in the sense that when I last visited 3 years ago there weren’t many places at all. 3 years isn’t long meaning that it’s only going to keep getting better. Saying that, there is still a lot going on and Helsinki offers a lot more than a lot of other places. Speciality coffee is more accessible than tea with coffee shops offering coffee brewed multiple ways.
The main teahouse worth mentioning is TeeMaa (meaning tea world in Finnish). When you walk in you feel like you are being welcomed into someone’s home.
The tea list is extensive (but well selected) and, as is common in Finland, they are able to talk you through the menu in English. Although if you know your teas you can easily follow the menu. I went for an Everspring Oolong and those with me went for a Fruity Rougui Oolong and one of their Assams.
The teas are all made at the correct temperature, in the correct teaware and served ready to drink. When your tea is finished they automatically make you another infusion until you can’t drink any more. The teahouse was started by Peng Luo who grew up in the Chinese countryside. She first came to Finland to attend university and has since made her home there. Therefore, the teahouse specialises in Chinese tea. With this in mind I bought some puerh tea pressed in the shape of a mushroom to try at home.
Kaffa is roastery, and home to the Helsinki School of Coffee, as well as a cafe making it the main speciality coffee place worth mentioning. You can see the roastery behind some glass as you enter the shop which looks very impressive. It’s always nice to have an insight behind the scenes, such as when you can see into a kitchen at a restaurant.
They also make cold brew coffee. We tried coffees prepared all ways over our two visits. Our favourite coffees were a Washed Kenyan and a Natural Ethiopian.
They also offer a choice of coffees for espresso based drinks which is a great touch.
Papu offer both tea and coffee. The tea is their own brand and they other milk tea and matcha lattes.
The thing that stood out on the menu for me was Vietnamese coffee so this is what I went for. Vietnamese coffee is dark roasted Vietnamese grown coffee strongly brewed in a special slow dripping filter served with condensed milk.
They offer espresso based drinks and pour overs. They only offer one pour over method at a time to make it quicker for customers which would make it good for takeaways. When they bring over your coffee they also give you some written information about the coffee which is a nice touch.
I’ve already got a list of places for my next visit to Helsinki and look out for my posts on tea and coffee in both St Petersburg and Tallinn soon.