Monday, February 05, 2007

Kuksa ~ Ancient Lapland Drinking Cup

One of the best “hiking companions” you might have is called “kuksa”. Kuksa is a handmade wooden drinking cup made of birch burl. People in Lapland have used kuksas for thousands of years and when treated right it will last for lifetime! Today you can find lot of “fake kuksas” but the only real kuksa is the one made of birch burl, which is the only material that will not crack in use. There are as many kuksa designs and sizes as there are makers, since all of them are made by hand. You can find tiny little kuksas or ones big enough to use as a soup bowl. Most common size is around one cup. Some have one hole for your finger, some have two… some of them have reindeer antler decorations… there is one for every taste, only problem is to find them in the US. You might want to check out my links or just click the head line!

Kuksa is light to carry with you and you can use it for any type of beverages hot or cold. The burl is soaked in salt water before the kuksa is carved, so it has a little salty taste the first time you use it. After that it will never hold any taste! You can use it for tea or coffee, juice or even for a shot of whiskey. All you need to do is rinse it with water after each use. Never put it in a dish washer or soak it in soap water!

10 comments:

Dave said...

I have four KUKSA'S now and have not tasted any salt. At first I could taste the wood but after about six cups of tea that has gone away. I guess it's sort of like seasoning a cast iron pan-you don't use soap on them either. I have one that is my favorite and love it.
Anyone else out there have one??

Drew Mayer said...

My wife just learned (from her aunt who had some DNA testing done) that she has Sammi ancestry. Coincidentally, while on a business trip to Helsinki seven years ago, I purchased a kuksa at the airport. I've never used it...but now that I know how to "season" it, I think I will.

Thanks for the education

Anonymous said...

I was taught to season the kuksa with cognac or brandy. Fill it up and let it soak over night (no, no sipping during the evening!) and have done so on many of my kuksas and have never had any foul flavors from them after that and it does keep them clean as well. The coffee sure tastes great from them after that. No, there is no brandy taste after a cup or two of coffee in them.

La Antigua, Guatemala said...

Was interested in the kuksa. Any idea where we might obtain that beautiful birch drinking vessel in the Americas? We have family in both Norway and in Sweden but have not seen them for sale in either country. Thanks, Bruce

Anonymous said...

you can buy these at Stockmann shop if u came across to Helsinki airport or simply buy them in Finland as they're everywhere!

stick13 said...

I have just recently been turned onto these cups. And I find them very interesting, but maybe for the wrong reasons...I like the looks of some of them, but I also like that not everyone is running around with one... i like the thought of having a solid wood drinking cup, and wouldn't mind carrying a few more oz in my pack to have one. But I do wonder, what makes them so much better than buying a $2 plastic cup from an REI that weighs 2 oz and is easily replaced? I mean what benefits do I get out of using one of these cups? I am in the US and I have just started searching using the trusty Google feature on my computer, and I have not found much on them. I came across a site called Kupilka which is located in Finland and they will ship, but I wonder the price. Also, these Kupilka cups are a mixture of wood and plastic (50 / 50) so it is not the same. However, I do like the look of them and from what I can tell the Kupilka 21 only weighs 2.82 oz so that ain't so bad, however, it only holds around 8 oz. So, jsut curious the benifits of having a 100% wood cup and where might I come across one in the US? Thanks.

American Finn said...

Try this...

http://www.cloudberrymarket.com/servlet/the-350/kuksa%2C-birch-burl%2C-hand/Detail

American Finn said...

Just want to clear what KUKSA is... it's not made of a piece of birch that looks "nice". A real kuksa is made of BURL not just any piece of birch! It does cost more since it will need to be soaked in salt water for two months and be dried same time before even carving... and how many burls have YOU seen lately?

I know there are cheap ones on sale in Helsinki markets anytime... but those are not the real Kuksas. Go ahead and buy one and find out a few months later it has cracked up... in this case, like in so many others, you get what you pay for!

I sell the ones people make with traditional ways in Lapland where these are from... this are my home crafts from people I have known making these for generations... and what I would use!

Jacqueline Goodall said...

I bought a cheap kuksa at an open air market in Helsinki. I have just had it hanging in my kitchen for looks, but would like to use it. It seems to not have a coating like the ones I saw in Lapland, it is just dry wood. What do you suggest I do to season this? Is it even worth it?

American Finn said...

A real birch burl kuksa does not need any kind of coating!! The cheap one from Helsinki market is probably made in Estonia out of regular birch and unfortunately can't be used anything but decoration. It will not last in use.