Regardless of the season, a delicious pan coffee delights campers and people enjoying nature. You can make pan coffee by camp fire as well as with the stove at the summer cottage, so why not make it at home also! Making pan coffee has always been a method that divides opinions and especially the opinions about the boiling part are the ones dividing people. Others boil the water several times, others talk to the pan and others scare the coffee. 

So, everything pan coffee related is connected by a sort of mystique that further raises the enjoyment level. An essential part of making pan coffee is fire, which is an element that brings safety and warmth to us Finns. Where a long time ago sat the karelian lumberjacks, also the modern day campers sit by the fire and join in the ancient tradition. Pan coffee also has a lot of names, such as carbon black coffee and stick coffee. The name stick coffee comes from the method of hanging the coffee pot from a stick over a fire.

Coffee has also been connecting people since the beginning of time. It is a custom to offer coffee to visitors. Coffee has always been a status symbol and it is that still, especially amongst the older generation. Everyone remembers the visits to grandma, where all sorts of sweets were served with the coffee.

The simplest way to make pan coffee

Although there are many instructions on how to make pan coffee, in this article we focus on the simplest possible way. The best pan coffee is made from a little darker coffees, such as Tujjuu, Tummoo and especially Pannukarkee. 

All you need in addition is clean water, a pan suitable for boiling and a container for the drink. Pan coffee has been enjoyed from a guksi for ages and a traditional hand made guksi increases the enjoyment even further.

But, let's see how a true pan coffee is made:

  1. Make sure that the pan is carefully cleaned and there are no traces of coffee from the previous use. Clean the pan carefully, if needed.
  2. Add the amount of water to the pot depending on the amount of coffee you want to make. One cup of ready coffee means 1,5 dls of water on average.
  3. Boil the water once. The boiling also cleans the water, and it's wise to boil especially the water taken from a spring or a lake.
  4. Take the pan out of the fire and let it be still for a moment. The best temperature to extract coffee is approximatey 92 to 96°C water.
  5. Measure the amount of coffee grind that is needed and add it to the pan. We recommend that you use a coarser grind. A guideline for the portioning of coffee grind is that: 1 dl of water needs one tablespoon of coffee grind. 
  6. Mix the coffee into the water and let it simmer for five minutes. In five minutes the coffee extracts with the water and the coffee grind descends to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Enjoy the coffee.

This is the simplest way to make delicious pan coffee. As you can see, the coffee is not boiled again after adding the grind. 

Pan coffee and its long traditions

Finnish people started drinking coffee in 1720 when coffee became popular in the high society of Turku. Little by little, when going towards the 19th century, coffee became common also amongst commoners. But coffee wasn't yet an everyday delicacy, however. Filter coffee came in the 1950s and until that, coffee was ground by hand from beans.

Like coffee, also coffee grinders have been a some sort of status in Finnish households. Coffee grinders were expensive so they were placed for everyone to see.

A coffee pan has always been a handy tool to make coffee. For example, a separate measuring-cup for coffee hasn't been needed - people have been using the lid to measure coffee for ages.

Pan coffee is generally more coarse than filter coffee. This is because in a pan, the coffee gets to extract longer and a too fine grind would over-extract and become bitter. A pan coffee, that has been made right, is rich, smooth and greasy. It was even a custom to add butter into the coffee in the old days! Butter coffee has actually been doing its new coming for quite some time now, and this mixture that's even been named a super drink, has already landed in Finland also! You should try this, add 50 to 80 grams of butter into your coffee and enjoy a wild energy-load first thing in the morning!

Although pan coffee as a method is old, it has become retro and for example many cafés and lunch places have pan coffee in their selection.

Ps. Every single one of us has sometimes accidentally bought pan coffee instead of filter coffee, but luckily it's not that dangerous. Portion the pan grind a little bit more than you would portion the filter grind into the coffee maker, and the result is completely fine.

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