Slow down with a Swedish fika break

Author: Caroline Brandelious   Date Posted:17 November 2019 

Slow down with a Swedish fika break 

If you’re in Sweden and anyone offers you a fika, you should only have one answer and that is yes! There is always time for a fika break.  

Basically fika means to have a cup of coffee and something with it like a classic Swedish cinnamon bun or other sweet treat, but there it is so much more to it. It’s a time when you sit down to have a break, chat with some friends, reflect over life or just catch up with family or work colleagues. 

A fika can also be a way to get to know new people. Fika is a great relaxing activity for a first date or if you want to get to know your neighbours for example. Sometimes even fika is used instead of a business meeting for a more casual gathering to talk at ease with co-workers. During a fika break time slows down, the daily responsibilities, chores and appointments are pushed aside. It’s a time to refocus inwards on the now, checking in with ourselves and connecting with others. 

It is also very common at Swedish workplaces that the employees have their right to a morning and afternoon fika. A time to sit down with colleges to connect, enjoy a cup of coffee while having a break from work. They last between 15-30 minutes and sometimes people will put some extra effort into the Friday fika. Maybe one of the employees bake a cake to share with their colleges or even the manager might buy some yummy cakes on Fridays. Some really dedicated fika lovers might organize a baking roster where everyone is taking turns baking for the Friday fika. And if you forget and miss your turn you could be in really big trouble. 


Image from (mypanier)

The start of fika begun around the 1800-century when coffee got introduced in Sweden. Coffee was served at coffee houses in towns where only men were allowed. Instead women started to have coffee gatherings in their homes, which introduced, what later became to be the foundation of what fika is today, the homemade cakes and cookies to go with your coffee. The coffee gatherings also called kafferep was a fine event where people would come dressed up and drink coffee from the finest china. 

Today a lot of fika breaks or dates take place in cafés and bakeries, with comfy chairs and couches so you can sit and sip on your coffee for a long time. A lot of Swedes still love the cakes and cookies but a modern fika can also include something healthier like freshly baked bread filled with cheese and veggies, yoghurt with berries or a smoothie. 

In the end fika is more about having a break, slowing down catching up with friends and family, reflecting over life and maybe getting to meet some new people while having a little snack. Of course the coffee is the most important ingredient but so is the time you take to have a break and slow down. 


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