How Norway became a coffee-loving nation

Photo: Jo Lanta / Unsplash

Many might be surprised to learn how important coffee is to Norwegian culture and everyday life. Continue reading for a brief introduction to how Norway became the coffee-loving nation it is today!

Norwegians like coffee. A lot.

In fact, in a recent article by WorldAtlas ranking countries by their coffee consumption per capita, 5 out of the 6 top countries are Nordic – with Norway securing a sweet second place behind Finland.

On average, Norwegians drink 9.9 kilograms of coffee per capita!

This might come as a surprise to some considering how far the Nordic countries are from the world’s “coffee bean belt,” and there are many theories as to why the drink has become so popular.

Some people claim that they need the energy and warmth to get through the notorious Scandinavian winters!

Norwegians often enjoy their coffee outdoors. Photo: Arūnas Naujokas / Unsplash

A drink for every occasion

Whatever the reason, coffee has become an integral part of everyday life in Norway with coffee drinkers allegedly making up 80% of its roughly 5 million people.

In fact, whatever the occasion might be you can be sure that Norwegians will find an excuse to enjoy a cup of coffee.

For many, the day cannot go ahead until they have had their morning sip. Norwegians will also serve coffee with dessert, and don’t be surprised if a Norwegian invites you over for coffee and cakes!

Furthermore, coffee is a necessity when out in nature and people will often bring it in thermoses. There is a selection of coffee cups specifically designed to be used outdoors, with many being beautifully carved from wood.

There are also different ways to prepare your coffee outdoors. One of them is “bålkaffe” – directly translated to fire coffee, this is when you brew your coffee outdoors over a fire.

There is even a type of coffee called “karsk”, which gained popularity towards the end of the 1800s – this characteristic coffee drink originates from rural Norway and consists of coffee and moonshine.

According to tradition, you are supposed to put a coin at the bottom of the cup, and then pour coffee until you can no longer see the coin. Then, you pour moonshine (or any other clear alcoholic beverage) until the coin reappears.

Not for the weak-hearted, in other words!

Photo: Karl Fredrickson / Unsplash

From exclusive to mainstream

Although coffee is considered a staple among Norwegians today, this was not always the case.

Coffee first became known in Norway towards the end of the 1600s but did not have its breakthrough until the 1800s. Like with the rest of Europe, coffee was first enjoyed by wealthy businessmen who brought it home from their travels abroad and did not become available to the public for some time.

According to some, the prohibition on alcohol in Norway from 1917 to 1927 might be the explanation to why coffee became so popular because people needed to find a new social drink.

As time has passed coffee has become a trendy drink, and today Norwegians can get their hands on all sorts of lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos that were previously deemed “foreign.”

Karl Johans street Oslo
In Oslo, coffee bars are becoming increasingly popular. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB

An increasing number of coffee bars

Today, the Norwegian coffee culture has evolved and in the big cities, we can now find coffee bars on every corner.

The most frequent coffee bar in Norway is Espresso House, a Swedish chain that has a large number of outlets all over Scandinavia.

Another popular coffee bar is Kaffebrenneriet, which opened its first outlet in 1994 on Theresegate in Oslo. Unlike Espresso House, Kaffebrenneriet is exclusive to Norway and largely concentrated in Oslo.

Source: #Norway Today, #NorwayTodayTravel


1 Comment on "How Norway became a coffee-loving nation"

  1. what’s a good coffee cake to serve with afternoon coffee?

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