To us Swedes coffee is more than a regular cup of Joe.
It is a lifestyle. We call it fika. “Fika” is a verb and it is a noun. You get together at a café for a fika with a friend or you can take a fika together with your collegues in the fikarum (fikaroom) provided.
A fika usually consists of a cup of black drip coffee, (but tea, cappuccino or a latte are nowadays also an option) a nice pastry or an open sandwich. Cinnamon rolls are popular. And carrot cakes. And chocolate mud cakes. And cookies. And…
Most Swedes “fikar” at least twice a day, around nine o’clock in the morning, and around three o’clock in the afternoon. At workplace a fika is a chance for the staff to take a break, but it is also a good opportunity to solve problems and get a second opinion on a issue you’re working on.
The Swedish way of Fika stems from the “kafferep” – tradition, a social gathering where coffee and usually seven kinds of cookies were served, together with at least a cake or some kind of cinnamon roll. These gatherings were very usual during World War II when women and children got together to knit socks for the soldiers.
The tradition is vivid, and if you get invited to a Swedish birthday party it is likely you encounter a rich variety of cookies and pastries and coffee served in gold lined porcelain cups.
A fika is a way to enjoy life, solve a problem, meet a long lost friend or get to know a new one.