What is fika and why is it an important aspect of Swedish culture?
It has a deeper meaning than you think
Fika (fee-kah), is a tradition in Swedish culture that in simplest terms means a coffee break with your friends or colleagues. It's a vital part of any Swedish work day, and usually occurs twice—once in the morning and again in the late afternoon, lasting anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. But fika is much more than a break, it's a time to connect and socialize.
Sweden ranks third in the world for biggest coffee drinkers, right below their fellow Nordic country of Finland, with the Netherlands taking the top spot. The Swedes are known for their love of super-strong coffee. Most enjoy it plain black or with a touch of milk.
The coffee is enjoyed with a sweet pastry, such as their famous semla (cardamom bun filled with light, sweet, vanilla cream) or kanelbulle (cinnamon buns).
Fika is much more than a coffee break. It is primarily about the time experienced with your friends or colleagues and to genuinely connect with them. It must be done with other people, or else it's not a proper fika. It is part of the culture; it's a mindset in society. It is about companionship.
It's just about as opposite as you can get from many of us who fly solo and grab our coffee on the go. Fika is all about slowing down and spending time with others.