Fika: The Almighty Traditional Daily Coffee Break In Sweden

Coffee Break

Coffee plays a great part in our everyday life, and Fika is one interesting thing about coffee to know about. I asked a Swedish friend of mine of what is the unique thing in his country, Fika was his answer. The translation of Fika simply means “coffee break”, but it means so much more than that to Swedes. Fika is not just a coffee break that many of us normally do sometime during the day. For Swedes, Fika is the moment to slow down whatever you do and appreciate the good things in life. Want to know why Swedish people love their Fika? Some details of the reasons to that are here for you.

1History of Fika

image: Culture Trip

The word fika originated from the 19th century word Kaffi (coffee), the Swedes switched positions of the two syllables and removed one f. The reason for that was because coffee had been banned several times in Sweden’s history. We all know the people who break the rules, and the Swedes who broke the rules coined the word Fika. It was like their secret word to meet for “kaffi”, and now Fika is all over Sweden.

2Fika & People

image: Pulmonary Hypertension News

Fika is a social institution in Sweden, and this practice is widely accepted as central to Swedish life. Fika gives people the opportunity to meet and hang out with their friends and get to know new people. At the same time, Swedes also spend their time at work for Fika as well. Being an important part of Swedish culture, many Swedes consider that it is almost essential to make time for Fika every day. You can also have your Fika at home, in a park, and pretty much anywhere you are. As long as you make time to take a break, it is what Fika is all about.

3Fika & Work

image: pxhere

Particularly at work, people make time for their friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee and have conversations. At some workplaces in Sweden, Fika also functions partially as an informal meeting between co-workers and management people. It can even be considered as impolite to not join in. At many workplaces, Fika is a part of regular daily schedule that occurs once or twice a day. Fika often takes place in a meeting room or in a designated Fika room. To most Swedes, Fika is a great way to exchange knowledge and opinions about what’s going on in the company. It is also a clever method to bond with colleagues as well which results in better productivity and friendship.

4Fika & Beverage

image: domanske

Albeit meaning “coffee break”, coffee is not the only beverage that you can drink in Fika. There is a wide range of beverage alternatives that you can substitute the coffee. Those can be tea (which is great for tea lovers who want to have Fika), juice, lemonade, or squash for children. Along with those drinks, people often combine their beverage with pastries like kanelbullar (cinnamon buns), chokladbollar (chocolate balls), and biscuits. Sometimes a sandwich, fruit, or small meal will also do as well as long as you have something to eat. As for Fika special, a cup of coffee and a sweet bun make Fika itself simply perfect.

5Fika & Meeting / Dating

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When not at workplace, Fika tends to be a little longer which lasts from 30 minutes to several hours. That is when you can meet up with your friends or someone you have common interest with. You can also take your Fika moment to get to know a potential person that you like. That is a very simple and easy way to ask a person out (on a quick date) because Swedes don’t usually reject Fika. In case you agree to go but then you get bored halfway, there is always a way to get out of it. You can say “Sorry, I have to go home now because I have booked a laundry time.”, or any other personal excuses you can find. Fika is normally short anyway, so you won’t be stuck for hours in a boring date aka informal Fika.


After all, Fika is a wonderful way to embrace life where you take time to appreciate and associate with people around you. With Fika, the Swedes will never be worried that their friendships or relationship is broken because of someone is too busy. No matter where you are, you can always have a Fika and enjoy every little thing in life.