This month we’re in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, at the roastery Good Life Coffee. With the motto "Avoid Bad Life" they do everything to make your life better serving some of the best coffee you can get in Finland.
We had a talk with Samuli, the owner of Good Life Coffee.
How did Good Life Coffee start?
Good Life Coffee is the brainchild of Lauri Pipinen (3 times Finnish champion, barista, brewers and latte art). He had just won the barista championship and at the time was working at Kaffa Roastery and looking for opening his own place. The cafe opening day was five years ago 18.4.2012.
In the early days the cafe was a fairly typical multi-roaster cafe but Lauri had the idea of an own Good Life Coffee roastery and asked if I was interested. After some time of planning what we would want to do the roastery was established in early 2014 and the first coffees were out in October.
What drove you to the coffee business?
Coffee is very interesting and multifaceted. At first it's mostly about the effect than about the taste which evolves to social responsibility. Personally I felt that Finland was lacking a top notch roastery with a focus on delivering the best quality coffees possible while doing it responsibly.
There are many great specialty coffee bars in Helsinki. How was the Helsinki coffee scene when Good Life Coffee started compared to now?
When the cafe opened there were very few good cafes in Helsinki and therefore a quite small scene. Customers were also surprised about the price of the filter coffee which was 3€ and made with Aeropress.
Nowadays there are more good cafes and more customers that understand better quality coffee and are willing to pay for it.
How has Good Life Coffee changed if you compare today, with the day you started the roastery?
We understand coffee more thoroughly and deeply. From the origin and trade to roasting and brewing. We also understand better that there is a lot to learn. More than we know at the moment.
How do you think Good Life Coffee will evolve in the future? Have you got any specific goals?
From the roastery perspective we'll begin to move towards relationships with coffee producers in comparison to shopping around the best coffees of the season.
A lot has happened in specialty coffee the last few years. What are you most excited about regarding the growth and development of specialty coffee? Will there be a ”fourth wave”?
I'm very happy that more people are interested in coffee as a drink itself and not just as fuel for functioning. I believe it will keep on growing to become the more expected norm but without the extra show and hassle.
In Sweden, we like to drink our coffee with a piece of cake or a cinnamon bun. What is the best way of enjoying a cup of Good Life Coffee?
The best way of enjoying our coffees is whatever is the favorite way of enjoying coffee for you. Personally I like black filter coffee that has cooled down. There are many ways of drinking coffee and sometimes it's fun and interesting to try something different. Maybe you will discover your new favorite style.
What are you looking for in a coffee when you taste it for the first time?
If I'm cupping coffee samples for buying I'm looking for clean flavor without defects. I also search different flavor profiles so that our range will be versatile and customers can try different things or stay at their comfort level. The coffees have always had to be interesting and something we enjoy also.
If I'm tasting production coffee, be it my own or somebody else, I look for balance (acidity, sweetness, mouthfeel, aftertaste), clarity and if there is roast defects or coffee defects. Flavors usually come last.
Do you have any favorite coffee origins?
At the moment Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania are my favorites. Last harvests from all those origins have been really good! They are also really interesting mix with similarities to Kenyan or Ethiopian coffees but with a twist. Many of them are really satisfying coffees that you enjoy drinking a lot.
Many of our members are trying Good Life Coffee for the first time. What can they expect?
Clean, balanced and interesting coffee.
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