Jonna Vuokola

Jori Korhonen: Coffee always tastes great with your grandmother!

Jori Korhonen, Training Expert at Paulig Barista Institute, prefers to enjoy his cup of coffee in excellent company and beautiful natural light. This top expert never interferes with his grandmother when she is making coffee. “I would never have the heart to tell her that coffee should be made in some other way. The most important thing is that I get to spend these rare moments with her.”

How deeply can drinking coffee be rooted in a person’s life? Paulig Barista Institute’s Training Expert Jori Korhonen often wonders about this when he follows the daily coffee moments of his 89-year-old grandmother. His grandmother’s life revolves around drinking coffee.

Korhonen himself is a top coffee expert who is always looking for deviances and rarities when drinking coffee – something special and new. A new twist in a flavour gets Korhonen excited. In his work, he carefully analyses the taste and different tones of coffee. He also spends his spare time always trying new coffee varieties that are often ordered from abroad.

Outside work, Korhonen has noticed that many other factors than just the flavour affect a good, happy coffee experience: people around you, not being in a hurry and the environment. Korhonen could never judge the coffee made by his grandmother. The encounters with Grandmother are always valuable as such.

“I would never have the heart to tell her that coffee should be made in some other way. Coffee always tastes great with my grandmother because I get to spend those rare moments with her. Even if there is much room for improvement in the coffee making,” says Korhonen.

pour over

At home, the best cup of coffee is the one enjoyed on a Saturday morning on his own sofa. 

“That’s the day when you’re not in a hurry to go anywhere, and the coffee has been manually prepared taking all the time that is needed.  Our window filters in the perfect light. That’s the moment when I’m happy.”

Read Jori's coffee brewing blogs:

Coffee from Cape Verde in a hipster café

After the Second World War, Finns were running low on luxury items, and even coffee was rationed. Korhonen believes this is one reason why coffee is so important for Finns. Coffee is part of great everyday life, but it has also always been used to celebrate life events.

“The long winters also mean that Finns need something to help us get out of bed in the morning. In addition, it’s often forgotten that you can get really high-quality coffee in Finland,” adds Korhonen. In his latest blog, Jori writes about Finnish one-of-a-kind coffee culture.

He tasted coffee for the first time in his life at his grandparents’ house when he was eight years old. He added plenty of sugar and milk but he wasn’t too impressed by the flavour. He discovered the delicate world of coffee much later when he was studying. As a student, Korhonen worked in several cafés. Combining work and studying was heavy – and when he was tired, he got in the habit of drinking coffee. 

Now, Korhonen always enjoys his cup of coffee black and without sugar. One of Korhonen’s most memorable coffee experiences took place in Amsterdam when he was doing a student exchange in the city of tulips. 

“I went to a hipster café that looked like a fun place to get some school work done. They offered coffee from Cape Verde that is very rarely available. The coffee was so well made – and how good can a cup of coffee taste! The café also featured a small roastery. I always go back there when I visit Amsterdam. That place left a deep mark in my heart.” Find a list of Jori's favorite cafes in Amsterdam here.

cappuccino with latte art

When the status quo isn’t enough

And in Korhonen’s opinion, what is happiness? What kind of a life is a happy life?

“Overcoming challenges brings me happiness. And that things are as normal. I don’t have to get a million euros to be happy. Everyday things, such as a job I like, make me happy.”

When people are busy, Korhonen thinks they cannot stop and think about the basic things. 

“Our culture is pretty much permeated by the ethos of competing. We are never happy with what we have as we are always reaching towards something we don’t have. The status quo is never enough, we cannot stay still in one moment,” says Korhonen. 

Also sustainability has an effect on happiness. 

“When everything has been made well and nothing in the background gnaws at your mind, coffee, for instance, can taste a lot better. Mind and consciousness are definitely present when tasting something.”

Korhonen spends most of his working hours at Paulig Kulma on Aleksanterinkatu in Helsinki. He is happy in his work because he is always learning new things and gets to see encounters between people.

“I don’t listen to what the customers are saying to each other. But body language tells a lot about the atmosphere. People’s excitement or enthusiasm when seeing each other for the first time, for instance, is lovely to look at. That gives me so much energy.”