This Is What Happens When You Visit Sweden For The Coffee

Swedish Fika

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from – or how you feel… There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.” ― Gabriel Bá, Daytripper

Coffee in the United States has become somewhat of a pop culture.  Get in line, order the most complicated, tongue-twisting combination of caffeine on the menu, and drink it from the paper cup in your car on your way to wherever it is you’re going

In Sweden, it’s just the opposite.  The coffee break, called fika, is actually an opportunity to unwind, socialize and refresh.

Which one sounds more appealing to you?

Origin Of Fika

The word “fika” (pronounced fee-ka) derives from the Swedish word kaffe, as a type of back slang originating in the 19th century where syllables of a word were reversed, (fika from kaffi).

Fika is both a noun and a verb.  You can drink fika (coffee) or you can fika at work (coffee break).

While many other cultures have coffee breaks, the Swedes don’t consider it a dash for caffeine. Instead it’s considered a social institution, and even has roots in law. In fact, employees are entitled to a five-minute break every hour, accrued into 15 minute fika breaks.  It’s a chance to rejuvenate around a mug of the steaming beverage and fikabröd (fika bread), a sweet pastry like a cinnamon roll. It’s not a time to check email, but to discuss personal interests.

Fika is also used in the Scandinavian dating process.  One can invite a person of interest to fika without the pressure of a formal date, with each person paying for their own treats.  It’s an informal way to have a conversation to see if there is a mutual attraction.

The tradition of fika is also practiced in other Scandinavian countries, and is starting to spread around world. After partaking in it myself, I’m hopeful to take it back to my home in the USA, as well.

Partaking At The Pensionat

Swedish Fika

Our car veers onto an old wooden bridge, taking us off the main street of Mörtfors Village and onto a dirt road. A simple sign at the crossroad reads “Mörtfors Pensionat.” With a shimmering blue lake on the left, our destination comes into view. The Pensionat guest house with its picturesque setting preserves the character of the last century.

Read the rest of Swedish Fika in Epicure & Culture.

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Swedish Fika

Comments

  1. Jamie Italiane says:

    I am headed to Sweden next month. Fun fact to learn before I go!

  2. Good to know. A summer trip to Sweden dropped on my lap out of blue. Surprises do happen every once in a while :). Every bit of information counts since I didn’t have a chance to do any research yet. Thank you for sharing.
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