Things are happening in Kallio, an up-and-coming district in Helsinki that was previously more of a working class area known for being dotted with dozens of shady bars. The most recent reason to make your way on top of the hill (as Kallio translates from Finnish) is Good Life Coffee, a coffee bar and shop.
The man behind the shop is Lauri Pipinen, the Finnish Barista Champion 2011, who we just recently interviewed. The shop itself is no-nonsense and stylish yet relaxed, featuring an LP-player in the corner, colourful posters on the walls and drinking water in ubiquitous glass-made filter coffee pots sitting on a (normally) hot plate.
Good Life serves coffees roasted mostly by three Finnish roasters: Kaffa Roastery, Turun Kahvipaahtimo and the newest addition Helsingin Kahvipaahtimo – Helsinki Coffee Roastery. In addition, Pipinen plans to have at least one guest roaster all the time – often times from Scandinavia but also futher abroad when possible.
There are two options for the daily changing black coffee. Most times at least the other is roasted by great Nordic roasters like Koppi or Tim Wendelboe. The coffee is prepared on the AeroPress and has been the most sold beverage right from the start. “The menu with two coffee choices and their descriptions force the customer to acknowledge that there isn’t “just black coffee” here. They have to think and choose between the two. That also makes it easy to engage them about the coffee, what makes them taste different and so on. Once they get used to it people start coming twice a day and saying “This morning I had the Rwandan, now I’ll try the Brazilian”.
Pipinen also stocks retail bags, both for espresso as well as filter, of featured roasters. They seem to sell like hot cakes, even with prices close to 20€. “Customers can taste the coffees brewed with the AeroPress first. That makes buying a whole bag to take home with much easier than buying blind, without tasting.
Good Life Coffee is open from 7:45-18:00 Mon-Fri; 10-16:00 Sat; closed Sun.
Visit them on their Facebook page (Finnish).
The top photo is used with permission from Lari Järnefelt of Felt fotografi.