Jori Korhonen //
// 26.10.2020

Paulig Barista Institute - 40 years of coffee trainings!

It's been 40 years since Paulig started coffee trainings for consumers and customers. Back in 1980 our coffee training department was established in Finland with the name of "Paulig Instituutti" so Paulig Institute with a purpose to train consumers how to brew better coffee. We wanted to share some stories from our previous trainers and see what is up in their lives nowadays!

Stories from previous trainers

Jarmo Auerkoski- Finland - 2000-2002

Jarmo worked as a coffee trainer back in the early 2000s in those days "Paulig Instituutti" (=Paulig Institute) where he was recruited because he participated in Finnish Barista Championships in 2000 and he won the competition. Soon after that he was asked to join Paulig to promote the barista and espresso culture in Finland. Nowadays he has his own business and the company makes cooling solutions for the airlines (so not so much coffee for him anymore). 

Back in the days when Jarmo started as a coffee trainer the trendiest thing in Finnish coffee culture were espresso based drinks as Finland was still discovering the world of lattes and cappuccinos. And of course those cappuccinos were made out of non-fat milk as it was customary back in those days and no one had heard of using whole milk in milk steaming. There also wasn't a concept of micro foam as we do nowadays. The goal was to get the milk as foamy as possible so that you could scoop it on top your cappuccino.

The coffees were also quite different back in early 2000's. There were only a few espresso blends and filter coffee was dominant in the Finnish coffee market (as it still is). The newest addition to the coffee markets were origin coffee blends which highlighted the coffee origins for the first times for the consumers and flavour notes of blackcurrant, chocolate and nuts were introduced to the consumers.

Jarmo has many good memories of coffee trainings from those days. The most memorable training for him was when he was asked to join the Finnish Alpine Skiing team and work as an official barista for them on their competition tour. The goal was to train the people how to brew good coffee and of course have fun with the Alpine Skiing team. 

Nowadays Jarmo still drinks quite a lot of coffee and his favourite coffee drink cappuccino. He is still quite strict about his coffee and likes to start his mornings with a good cup of filter coffee and then in the afternoon he enjoys well made cappuccinos in his workplace.

Krister Kaattari - finland - 2000-2004

Krister was the successor for Jarmo and he is still working in Paulig, just in a bit different position. Nowadays he is in charge of Robert Paulig Roastery's roasting, creating the roasting profiles for their coffees and cupping a lot of coffee to keep up with their quality. Before moving to Robert Paulig Roastery, Krister worked for a long time in our coffee laboratory where he was the right hand for our Head of Cupping Marja Touri, roasting the coffee samples from coffee origins that our coffee tasting team evaluates.

Krister kaattari
Krister at his job roasting coffee at Robert Paulig Roastery.

Krister started as a coffee trainer in autumn 2002 and before that he was working as a bartender. He ended up into Paulig Barista Institute because he and her wife got kids and he needed to find a job where wouldn't be working every night. He had some coffee experience when applying for the job as he had brewed some espressos in the bar that he was working back then. As Jarmo stated, the espresso based drinks were starting to boom in Finland in early 2000s and Krister also thinks that those where the trendiest thing in coffee in Finland back then. Krister also told that the hottest topic in the coffee world back then was that what is specialty coffee and the coffee world was coming up with the defining what does the term mean.

Krister travelled a lot around Finland during his coffee trainer years and he always remembers a trainings in Pietarsaari where he was supposed to have a barista course. He was expecting a group of young people hungry for espresso knowledge but the participants turned out to be local elderly women who had never seen an espresso machine or cappuccino. The training turned out a bit different than he expected but still it was useful for the participants and he got extra good feedback about the training. That shows how random the trainings can be and as a coffee trainer you need to always be prepared to change your training plans in a heart beat and adapt to the situation.

Emmi Kinnunen - finland - 2012-2019

You might have seen Emmi writing to this site and also in our social media channels as she left for maternity leave about a year ago. Emmi joined Paulig Barista Institute as coffee trainer back in 2012 and she ended up in the job by accident as she was a job opening for coffee trainer in Helsingin Sanomat (the biggest newspaper in Finland). Nowadays Emmi is at home with her 10 month old daughter and she is also studying at the same time. Before maternity leave Emmi acted as Program and Community Manager for Paulig Barista Institute so she was in charge of our social media channels and development of this site along with other coffee related projects. 

emmi kinnunen
Emmi back in 2016

Back in 2012 when Emmi started as a coffee trainer, the specialty coffee scene had started to rise up in the coffee world. Emmi felt that it was really interesting time to start in coffee then as coffee wasn't as trendy as it is now. Hand brewing such as Hario v60 had just became popular and people were experimenting how to brew the best coffee. It might tell a lot that back in 2012 it still wasn't "normal" to describe coffee with flavour notes but the most common adjective for coffee were "hot" and "fresh". 

The most memorable training for Emmi is quite an odd one; she remembers training Bob Marley's brother (it might have been Marley's son, Emmi wasn't sure). That maybe shows how random coffee trainer's working life might sometimes be.

Emmi still describes herself as a coffee nerd; she still brews her coffee at home with Hario v60 and tries to try out different roasteries and coffee when she has a chance to do it. Though her life is quite busy right now at home because of two children so coffee moments are even more important to her and she treats herself daily with some delicious coffee.

Btw did you know that Emmi was the brains behind this site when it was established back in 2017?

Ulla Suoraniemi - finland - 2011-2018

There is a legend about how Ulla ended up as a coffee trainer in Paulig (= so we are not sure if it's true but most likely it is). Ulla was working back in 2011 in our roastery in Vuosaari but not at Paulig as she was working in our roastery's restaurant. The training manager back then, Harri was Ulla scraping pots and other kitchen stuff really properly and thought to himself that that girl/woman seems to be really hard working and asked Ulla to apply for an open trainer's job. Ulla had never thought that she would want to be a coffee trainer and she took it as a joke at first but ended up still applying for the job and rest is history.

ulla suoraniemi
Ulla back in 2016

Right now Ulla is also at home with her two childen and she is at same time studying to become a Master of Hospitality Management. Before leaving for maternity/study leave she was in charge of Finnish training team as Training Manager so she was Jori's, Karkki's and Ella's boss. Ulla also remembers how the coffee culture in Finland had started to develop back in 2011 when she started as a coffee trainer and back those days still espresso based drinks were the trendiest thing in Finnish coffee market. She recalls that coffees weren't definitely described as they are nowadays and people weren't as knowledgeable about coffee as they are nowadays.

Ulla remembers being really confident about barista trainings but her skills were put to test when she had to train a group of business owners how to run a successful café. She felt a bit insecure to train those stuff but the first training was such a success that the attendees came to hug her tears in their eyes after the training.

Ulla still loves light roasted filter coffee as she did during her training days but she admitted to us she has become lazy at home and her coffee brewing isn't as nerdy as it used to be. Seems to be a thing with the stay-at-home moms which is totally understandable as you need to take care of your children.

Kati Kivikas - estonia - 2006-2017

Kati is also still working for our company but just in a bit different role; she is nowadays Marketing Manager for Out-of-Home Baltics. But she ended up as a coffee trainer in Paulig Barista Institute because she was then working in a café and our previous coffee trainer came the to café to keep a training for them and at that moment Kati fell in love with coffee. Soon after that Kati realized that coffee training was something she wanted to do in the future.

kati kivikas

There wasn't much coffee culture in Estonia when Kati joined Paulig and the trendy things in coffee in Estonia back then were espresso based drinks. As the coffee culture started to built up, the flavour notes of coffee started to come up to people's mouths thought not in the same way as nowadays. Kati has many good memories from the trainer years and her most memorable training was back in 2007 when she had to do first live training with cameras recording her every move. She was really scared and nervous about the training but in the end everything ended up going really well, as it always does with Kati.

Nowadays Kati is still really passionate with coffee and she tries to get nerdy with Mihkel as often as possible when her busy working life allows her. She loves coffees brewed with Chemex and African coffees such as Kenya and Ethiopia are her absolute favourites. At home she usually brews with Hario v60 as she is usually brewing only for herself.

Kati was also active in the Estonian barista scene back in the days and she has succeeded in barista competitions;

  • Estonian Barista Championship 2004 - Winner
  • Estonian Barista Championship 2006 - Winner
  • World Barista Championship 2005 - 9th place

Dovile Baltrukeniene - Lithuania -  2014-2017

karkki and dovile at vcf
Dovile and Karkki at Vilnius Coffee Festival 2019

As Kati, Dovile is also still working for Paulig as Marketing Activation Manager for Out-of-Home Baltics (actually Kati is her boss). Though right now she has more important responsibilities as she is at home taking care of her daughter but she will coming back to us in a year. She joined Paulig in 2014 and worked three years as a coffee trainer before taking her current position in marketing. She remembers that when she started as a trainer, espresso based drinks with a lot of syrups and sauces (Starbucks style) were the hottest thing in coffee in Lithuania. She has noticed a clear change in coffee in Lithuania as people have started to appreciate lighter roasts and acidity in coffee rather than bitterness as it was when she started.

Dovile recalls one of her favourite moments from her training year; she had a really early morning training for a customer and there was a group of young and sleepy baristas as they had been partying all night the night before. One of the baristas fell a sleep in the beginning of the training but managed to get back up after tasting a few espressos.

Dovile is a big fan of cold brew but it's a bit tricky to brew at home and her being a mother she doesn't have a lot of time to get nerdy with her coffee so she prefers filter coffee at home. She also loves coffees brewed with Chemex or Hario v60 but with the lack of time she usually trusts her filter coffee machine to get her caffeine fix nice and easy.

We were also challenging Dovile whether she would still be able to make us a decent cappuccino and you can see the result from the video. ;)

These were the stories of our previous trainers! We will be adding a second blog about ourselves - the current trainers! Stay tuned!