Fika is quickly becoming popular all over Europe. For ages it has been very popular in Sweden but now you hear about it more and more, outside of Sweden as well. We don’t mind as this Swedish coffeebreak is a very nice tradition! It is one of the first things I do when I’m in Sweden and it is also one of the habits that I miss the most when I get back home.
A cup of coffee with kanellbullar. It’s pretty much the cliché when one thinks of the Swedish coffeebreak. As I don’t drink any coffee (I know, that’s very weird in Sweden! So I do get the odd look every now and then when I say I don’t want to have a coffee but ask for some water or a hot chocolate milk instead), my favourite fika is a hot chocolate with a cardemom or cinnamom bun. I can really crave for those delicious cardemom buns!
Is there anything more Swedish than fika? It is more than a regular coffee break. It is about really taking the time to sit down with friends, family or even on your own, while you’re enjoying a cup of coffee (Swedes are really addicted to coffee but you can also have a fika with tea, a hot chocolate or even a lemonade) and something sweet accompanying it (kanellbullar, cake,…) . This whole happening is deeply ingrained in the Swedish culture. A bit like the high tea in England but in a daily version!
The origin of “fika”
In the nineteenth century it was fashionable to put words backwords. Kaffi became ‘fika’. Originally, it meant nothing more than “coffee”. For older generations, the word still means nothing more than just coffee.
Fika at the office
In many Swedish companies they have a coffee break around 11 am. It’s a moment where everybody takes a break. No one dares to stay at his desk during fika. It is an ideal opportunity to socialize with your colleagues before getting back to work. Too bad we don’t have that tradition! I do try to get my colleagues tricked into it. And I surely have my hot chocolate and cinnamom bun as often as I can on home office days or when I am in Sweden!