Coffee has become popular worldwide. As we chug our brews to go, on the run, or even hastened around a water cooler at work, this is simply not the way it is done in Sweden. Coffee has become a culture in Sweden. It is a way of life and strongly embraced by the Swedish, and for good reason.
Coffee is a staple of long talks, meetings with friends and simply enjoying life for the people of Sweden. While other major areas of the world are under extreme pressure and run at almost frantic rates, Sweden kicks back, relaxes, and enjoys every sip of their coffee.
The coffee break, or fika, is when people are able to sit back with a delicious rich brew, have a pastry and catch up with friends and family. Even at the office it is a big affair with co workers relaxing together and catching up with day to day news. The Swedish people use the fika as a time to relax and unwind.
The fika has become so much more than just a simple coffee break. It has actually become a custom for the Swedish. Each and every citizen carves out a specified amount of time from every day to sit back, unwind and drink a delicious hot beverage. This beverage (which can be coffee or tea) is typically consumed with a sweet pastry.
The whole thing to this culture is that everyone does it every day. The Swedish make this a ritual that is worked not only into their work week, but also into the weekends. It is something that they do religiously and take a great deal of effort to keep consistent in their lives.
The pastries that the Swedish enjoy with their fika are also quite varied. While a sweet breakfast type pastry is usually enjoyed, one can also find breads, rolls, and even sandwiches as a part of the fare. It marks a time in their days that is filled with thankfulness and ease of heart and mind.
The traditional brews that are served at fika tend to be robust in nature. These are slowly roasted, rich and dark brews that are slowly sipped and savored. They require no special flavorings or creams and taste extraordinary alone or with embellishments.
There are those who do rather enjoy a cappucinno type brew though. These individuals embrace fika just as much as any other person. Their brew of choice starts with that rich, dark embolden brew, but then adds flavors and rich creams from a milk frother to it. These individuals swear by the delicacies of their fika and the many tastes that they enjoy.
The traditional coffee shop that Americans and many Europeans enjoy can be found, but are not readily accepted as traditional fika fare. These tend to be more for the tourists and guests who come from other parts of Europe and the United States. Fika is just a word to those visitors who will never truly embrace the benefits of fika and the culture that embraces it.
What makes fika so unique is that this is not your ordinary 10 minute coffee break. The Swedish take over 40 minutes, and sometimes hours on the fika. What is more is that this coffee break typically happens three to four times a day at these elongated periods of time. The tradition seems to stem on stressing the socialization of the event more than the actual coffee.
Swedish love coffee and this is why the fika has become a tradition for them. The coffees are quite varied from region to region but the outcome is the same. People take the time throughout their day to get in touch with those around them and form a stronger bond throughout the community.
image credit: Flickr/Länsmuseet Gävleborg