Coffee for all
The Finns’ coffee consumption is the highest in the world per capita. Copper kettles have been recorded in the estate inventory deeds since the 1720s. Copper kettles were tin-plated from the inside because copper when dissolved produces copper salts that are harmful to health. Tin-plating was done by the professional team of tinsmiths. Despite the precautions, copper poisoning occurred. A coffee kettle – especially that of a beautiful copper colour – was a status symbol and in the 1900s, coffee kettles were often seen. The contents of a coffee kettle rack told us how wealthy a family was. Copper kettles often had a hinged cap over the spout, the meaning of which is interpreted differently. According to some, its purpose was to prevent coffee from going flat. On the other hand, the hinged cap was also called a ‘cockroach flap’, its purpose being to prevent cockroaches from entering the coffee kettle.
“Coffee sweet, beautiful drink, but too much for the purse”
Today, coffee drinkers can use their coffee choices to express their lifestyle or their ideals. There is a wide variety of coffee qualities as well as specialty coffees. Previously, coffee was expensive and a luxury product. Used coffee grounds were saved for up to weeks and made into coffee, adding water and little new ground coffee to the old coffee. Coffee substitutes were used e.g. barley, rye, chicory, dandelion root, sugar beet, peas and turnip- or potato skins. In the first half of the 20th century, it was customary to season coffee with salt so that it would remove the taste of water from the coffee and much coffee would not be spent.
The coffee was made at home by roasting the coffee beans first with a coffee toaster, that is, a roaster. The coffee beans were then ground with a coffee grinder. Coffee makers and filters became more common in the 1960s, but before that coffee was brewed in a coffee pot. The lid of the copper kettle could be used as a measure of the coffee powder – the lid contained just the amount of powder corresponding to the amount of water in the kettle. Coffee-making tips: “do not make coffee as potato stew” – 3-4 minutes is enough! After that, the coffee is removed from the heat to clarify. You can make your coffee clearer by shocking it with cold water, adding one or two bream scales, eggshells or stockfish skins.
Used coffee grounds were used for fertilization, skin care and washing of hands, clothes and dishes. Access to coffee was also so important to the staff that service commitments could determine how often coffee should be drunk. Not every household drank coffee on weekdays except the house host and hostess – the servants drank substitutes. Distinguished guests were possibly offered even better coffee. At the beginning of the 20th century, Finland consumed four kilos of coffee, while in 2010 it was already 10 kilos.
Coffee as pictures:
800 AD – The first written mention of coffee was on the list of medicines of an Arab doctor.
1200s – The coffee drink was born when an Arab discovered that the coffee bean contained in the coffee berry could be roasted and when dissolved in hot water could provide a strong aroma.
1500s (end) – Coffee was probably consumed for the first time in Europe, in Venice.
1685 – The first small cargo of coffee arrived in Gothenburg, Sweden. However, the first Swede to savour coffee was the Counsellor of State Claes Brorson Rålamb in 1657 in Turkey when he visited King Charles X’s ambassador.
1720s – Coffee was brought to Finland by boats belonging to the Turkuan bourgeois.
1730s – The coffee culture flourished and the consumption of coffee in the Nordic countries quickly spread from one class to another. Coffee was first consumed in Western Finland and on the coast – the Eastern Finns adopted coffee drinking later.
1756-1801 – Drinking coffee was expensive. When taxation did not work, the import and consumption of coffee was banned by special regulations four times in different years in this period. Prohibitions were followed by smuggling of coffee.
1800s – King Gustav IV Adolf declared: “Because you, my subjects, are such scoundrels that you cannot get by without coffee, I want to allow this drink to be used for the time being” and so coffee drinking continued and became more common. Over the course of a century, coffee became a popular drink for the whole nation.
1946 – After the war, Heracles brought in the first coffee cargo, which was welcomed by a crowd of a thousand at the Port of Turku. The regulation of coffee ended in 1954. Coffee became a central symbol of freedom and reconstruction.
1980s–1990s – In the 1980s and 1990s, the images of coffee’s exoticity, luxury and elegance continued to appear in coffee advertising and was still purchased in stock.