A cup of coffee could make a travel memory for life

Excited or plain nervous ahead of your first coffee date with a native Norwegian? These eight pointers will lower your shoulders and let you relax. 

Photo: Anniken Enger

Photo: Anniken Enger

Welcome to Northern Norway! 

Here, you’ll find spectacular landscapes, proud fishing traditions and tightly-knit communities going back countless generations.  

 But what about the people up here? Are they as weathered and turbulent as the harsh climate may suggest? 

 Quite the contrary, according to travelers who have taken a chance and gone for a coffee break with one of our local hosts. Most of them are open – and curious about you and your life. In return, you’ll get a unique glimpse into Northern Norway and the people living here. Some may appear shy at first, but nothing gets the chat going like a hot cup of coffee. 

 In other words: This will be fun! To make the most out of the meeting, however, some advice about the experience and what to expect from it might come in handy.  

1. Be yourself!

This might seem obvious. But people are different, and we have no intention of making our coffee guests or hosts fit into social roles they’re uncomfortable with. Sometimes silence is beautiful, other times boisterous storytelling and high-spirited anecdotes may be the right thing for you. So check out the different profiles of the local hosts in advance, and pick someone who you think you’d be comfortable to be yourself with.   

2. … and be curious  

Openness and curiosity pays, on a coffee date as well as in general. The whole point of Kaffepause is opening up to new experiences, perspectives and stories. Mutual curiosity – within reason, of course – is a prerequisite for making your meeting a memory for life. And remember: What’s mundane to you, might be exotic for a northerner – and vice versa.  

3. Do your research

In Northern Norway, you’ll find fishers, craftspeople, artists, teachers, mechanics, nurses, rockers and innumerable other occupations. And their interests are as diverse as anywhere else in the world. In other words: This is your chance to find your kindred spirit among the locals, whether you end up cleaning a beach or watching Game of Thrones. 

4. Dress for the occasion 

Life in Lofoten is, to put it mildly, characterized by the seasons. The winter in particular can be tough, wet and windblown, making even the shortest trip a daunting task. That’s why you should check the weather report in advance and come prepared – especially if the coffee date takes place outdoors. Unless a special occasion calls for it, you would be wise to leave your most fancy at home.   

 5. Show respect

 As mentioned earlier: Norwegians are as diverse as any other nationality. While some may invite you home and share their inner thoughts instantly, others need time and space to truly open up. In any case, common decency is a must, like taking off your shoes when you enter a home, keeping appointments and respecting agreements that have been made beforehand. 

6. Talk about the weather  

If the occasional awkward silence should find its way into the coffee break, there’s no need to worry – on the contrary, really: Just look out the window, and you’ll the foundation for a conversation that could go as deep as you want it to. The reason for Norwegians’ seemingly endless interest in the weather is obvious: It affects the way we live in a fundamental way, thus providing a key to the Norwegian spirit.     

7. Enjoy the coffee  

It’s worth remembering that the Norwegian standard coffee – unless something else is specified – is black, lightly roasted filter coffee without milk, sugar or other distractions. This “naked” type of coffee requires a higher coffee quality than for instance the Italian espresso. In many cases, the coffee host may have other coffee variations as well – check out which on his or her profile site and bring what you may need additionally.  

8. Relax

 With all this mentioned: Lower your shoulders, breathe calmly. You have a memory for life ahead of you! 

 

Anniken Enger