5 Compelling Reasons to Explain Why Nordics Drink So Much Coffee Like No Tomorrow

Last updated on January 15th, 2024 at 06:39 pm

Do You Know Which Country Consumes The Most Coffee In The World?

The answer will surprise you! Especially the people who live in the UK, USA, France, and Italy, that all these four countries don’t make the top ten. Not even close. 

The answer is… 

The Nordics drink so much coffee that is way beyond anyone’s imagination!

A Nordic man drinking coffee, wearing a gray beanie hat, black sweater, black winter pants, black snow boots, sitting on the snow of a hill top overlooking the snowy scene below. The man is holding the black coffee mug with his left hand. Nordics drink so much coffee even in the cold snowy outdoor setting during the winter!
Drink Coffee Overlooking The Snowy Scene In The Distance

Here Are the Top 6 Countries Comsume the Most Coffee Per Capita:

The number one is Finland! The second is Norway, the third is Iceland, the fourth is Denmark, and the sixth is Sweden. Strangely The Netherlands takes the spot of number five. Here is the chart that breakdowns the annual consumption in kilograms per person of the top six countries[1]:

Finland – 12kg

Norway – 9.9kg

Iceland – 9.0kg

Denmark – 8.7kg

Netherlands – 8.4kg

Sweden – 8.2kg

Yes, you can see that the Nordics drink the most coffee in the world! Other than The Netherlands, the other 5 countries are in the Nordic region, so why do Nordics drink so much coffee?

Why Do Nordics Drink So Much Coffee Like No Tomorrow?

This short article explains the reasons behind that why Nordics drink so much coffee, which most people never have a clue about Nordics region’s annual coffee consumption per capita. 

The History of Coffee In Nordic Region

Coffee first arrived in the Nordic region in the late 17 century, but it would take another hundred or so years before the drink would become mainstream. In 1756, coffee was banned in Sweden in an attempt to increase the sales of a Swedish Tea imports company[2]. The ban was later on overturned and re-instated another three times until the government legalized coffee for good in 1823. 

By the late 1800s, coffee became the Nordic region’s social beverage of choice. Interestingly, these short periods of the coffee ban might propel the Nordics to chug down coffee excessively today as if coffee might be banned again!

So What Is Happening?

Today, on average, Finns drink three cups of coffee a day. Almost every Swedish household has a filter Moccamaster coffee machine, which is made in The Netherlands – another interesting fact that might explain The Netherlands takes the fifth spot. 

Coffee is just so everywhere in Nordic countries. Coffee is served on a refill basis in these countries. A person can get a cup at the counter of a coffee shop, fill it up with coffee, and go back as many times as he/she wants to drink more. That is one of the reasons that the Nordics drink so much coffee, it is free to refill, then why not! Not only the amounts of coffee that Scandinavians drink are in large quantities, but also the roasts are very dark, which means the coffee the Nordics drink is very strong in taste.

So Why Do Nordic People Drink So Much Coffee?

It is an ingrained culture nowadays, that the first thing in the morning for the Nordics is to fill the coffee-making machine’s water tank, grab a filter, put it into the machine, and add tablespoonfuls of coffee. Many Scanvenians drink their coffee black, and some may add milk. 

1. Coffee Breaks Throughout The Day.

The key Nordic coffee culture isn’t the morning coffee. It’s the coffee breaks throughout the day. Swedish even has a particular term for that called Fika. The Nordics take coffee breaks during the day, sometimes up to three or four to relax, and chat with coworkers over a cup of coffee, and sometimes with a few sweet pastries[3]

This is the first reason that the Nordics drink so much coffee, lots lots of coffee breaks during the day to enjoy the coffee and some chitchat.

A woman holding a cup of coffee with her left hand and sitting next to a glass door appreciating the white snow in the yard outside through the glass. Coffee and snow are the two usual elements in Nordic people's life.
A Cup Of Coffee Warm Up The Body On a Snowy Winter Day
2. Hospitality

Nordic people offer a cup of coffee to any visitor as their hospitality. In Scandinavian culture, ‘coffee parties’ are a prevalent part of daily life. These are very informal social gatherings with plenty of coffee and cake.

These parties have their special terms in each of these Scandinavian countries. “Kafferep” is the Swidish term, “kaffiboð” is an Iceland term for that, and the word “kaffeslabberas” is used in Norway and Denmark to describe such an event. This is the second reason that the Nordics drink so much coffee.

3. Religion Plays A Big Role.

Religion also plays a big part in the growth of the coffee culture in these countries. After the church service, people congregate to socialize while drinking coffee and having cake. Kirkekaffe, “church coffee,” is an integral part of Nordic social institutions.

Kirkekaffe helps to shape communities and develop stronger bonds with the church and its parishioners. The religious social bonding encourages the Nordics to drink so much coffee the third reason.

4. Outdoor Activities.

Also important are the outdoor activities. Nordics love hiking, skiing, and going to their weekend/holiday place with a must-have item – a thermos filled with coffee. 

Drinking coffee on these trips is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation, and coffee drinking can start in childhood in these countries[4]. This is the fourth reason that Nordics drink so much coffee as a byproduct of their outdoor activities.

On a snow covered sled, a thermos is lying next to the cap which is full with black coffee. Outdoor spots and coffee is a very common mix in Nordic peoples daily life.
Coffee and Outdoor Activities Is Part of Nordic People's LifeStyle
5. Coffee House To Deal With Winter Weather.

Despite the abovementioned factors, I think the biggest reason for coffee’s popularity in Nordic countries is something to do with the region’s weather.

It’s common to see coffee shops full of people socializing over their steaming coffee mugs in warm and cozy surroundings in the middle of dark and cold Nordic winter.

This is the fifth reason that the Nordics drink so much coffee, and I believe this is the most significant reason.

An internal arial view of a café, where Nordic people's favorite places outside one's home.
An Internal Arial View of a Cafe

Here Is The Short Answer To The Question.

Here is the answer that why the Nordics drink so much coffee:

Overall I think all these factors –  the expanded international trade with the region[5], a period of prohibition, and heavy taxation on alcohol which persists to this day, the after-church service coffee drinking, and the cold weather encourage close socializing in the coffee house, make coffee the region’s favorite social beverage. These are the reasons that Nordics drink the most coffee per person per year in the world.

However, if you have any other insight about why the Nordics drink so much coffee, please send your reasons by filling out the comment section below this article or going to our contact page to submit your thoughts and comments.

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