Mocha Monkey

Some coffee shops have a special atmosphere, something that pulls you to come there again and again. Here are a few of my favorite ones. This list is by no means complete and it is always fun to discover new ones.

Mocha Monkey

A year ago I was visiting the US and we visited a fun little coffee shop in Waconia, Minnesota called Mocha Monkey. It is full of little nooks and crannies, a book shelf and orginal art. Waconia is outside of suburbia and has the atmosphere of the traditional “small town” USA. I tried their gelato, which is made on site. I would go back for more if they were a little closer!

Wuollet Bakery

This bakery has a special place in my heart with many childhood memories. It is a visit filled with nostalgia. I like seeing the craftmanship that goes into the baked goods, watch the cake decorators making their original creations, enjoy a cup of coffee and have a little something sweet to go with it.
easter cakes


This was my absolute favorite place in London. The interior was contemporary and cozy at the same time. They would plug in a toaster at your table so that you would always have freshly toasted bread at breakfast. I really liked the idea of the communal table, kind of like being part of a big family! But since I grew up in a big family, it probably feels quite natural. Their selection of different salads and sweets was amazing. The scents of the salads made me wish that we could have gone back there for lunch.
ottolenghi salads

Piano Pavilion

In Lahti there is a little harbor about a kilometer from the downtown area. Along the water front there are several cafes of which two awakened my interest. The Piano Pavilion is open during the summer and has been constructed out of environmental friendly materials and has a contemporary design. The terrace is right over the water with a minimalistic glass railing that does not block the view of the harbor. The only downside is that its menu cannot compete with the Cafe “Kahvila Kariranta” on the other side of the harbor. But I would go again for the scenery, and the peaceful experience of sitting right on the water and listening to the waves.
cafe piano
joa running

quality sister time: myself, Mari and Tin and Joa
quality sister time: myself, Mari and Tin and Joa


Kahvila Kariranta

On the other side of the harbor in Lahti is Kahvila Kariranta located in an old train station building. They make their own treats in their little bakery in the back. Their products have a genuine home-made flavor that can be rarely found. Since the house is old, it has several small rooms to choose from and for nice summer days, they have a terrace in front.
kahvila kariranta

Kahvila Ilo

The words Ilo means joy in Finnish. Kahvila Ilo is a local coffee shop/cafe that takes pride in using local produce as much as possible. They make wonderful salads and cakes. I definitely think that it is the best cafe in Kouvola. I almost think you can evaluate a place by their pulla. If they have good home-made pulla, then their other products are usually great as well. I must admit that if I have errands in town I often make an excuse to stop by. I have become an irregular regular customer!

A made to order salad with quinoa, avocado, poached egg, cottage cheese and pumpkin seeds...served with a heart shaped focaccia roll.
A made to order salad with quinoa, avocado, poached egg, cottage cheese and pumpkin seeds…served with a heart shaped focaccia roll.


    1. Thank you so much, you are so kind! It is always nice when the opportunity presents itself to go on a little exploration trek. Often it is possible to learn a little about local culture in a coffee shop.

  1. What a great idea for a post! I know that there are coffee shops that I’ll enter and leave with a coffee in hand. Yet, there are others, where I cannot wait to sit down, make myself comfortable, and have a little rest & relaxation. And it it serves a salad like the one in your closing photo, I’ll be there every afternoon around 1:00 pm. 🙂

    1. Definitely! I’ve noticed that service is a large factor, the nicer the customer service the more likely I will come back again. And I probably would stop by at 1 pm everyday for a salad as well if I happened to be around at that time 🙂 Their beetroot and goat cheese and smoked salmon salads are wonderful as well!

  2. I am so hungry after reading through your post. What a lovely selection of places you have sampled. I enjoyed the “monkeys” playing by the door in the first photo 🙂

  3. I ❤ coffee shops too! Bakery and their products looks yummy – wouldn't mind to have it around 😀 And another ❤ for the lighthouse 😀

    1. I love coffee shops as well! I wrote my master’s thesis in one…it was the perfect place to go to since at home I would always come up with other things to do and the library seemed too quiet and stuffy.

    1. We don’t have too many good local coffee shops either, just a couple. But on excursions to nearby cities it is fun to explore what they have to offer! Your local patisserie sounds wonderful from what you’ve written in your posts!

  4. I really enjoyed your virtual tour of the coffee shops. Coffee shops vary so much in character. It is fun to explore the character of coffee shops when I visit a new town.

  5. Thank you for the around-the-world tour of coffee shops. Wonderful photos. My favorite places would probably the one where the bring the toaster to the table and anything by the water. Those salads are also really appealing.

  6. I love coffee shops. The photos are delectable as well. Specially the ones with the pastries!! 🙂

    I am happy for you Laila that you are able to work with building atmospheres for coffee shops.

    Here is Boise there is one I go to with my wife, just to sit and enjoy her company, a good espresso and all kinds of people coming and going. some who are very interesting.

    Great post!!


    1. Coffee shops are so versatile! Kind of like an extended living room. They are the perfect place to meet a friend, do a little work and like you said, people watch! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. What quaint little places and the food looks delectable..especially the cakes. I wish I have my coffee now, with some nice treats. 🙂

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