While there has definitely been a recent growing interest in the Swedish tradition of fika, the Swedes have been drinking coffee for a long time. In Sweden, coffee has been a reason to gather together with friends, celebrate a special occasion, and just take a nice break from the everyday routine for over a century.
Take a look through these 10 vintage photos to see why the Swedish coffee break is so special.
Let's be honest: The Swedes have been making coffee look good for decades now. I mean, just look at the man in the photo above. And who doesn't want to fika with these ladies?
In Sweden, when it's your name day, you get a special celebration — most often with coffee, as shown in this name day card from 1835.
Sweden is full of modern cafes, but there are also the traditional konditori, a more upscale pastry shop with lots of fancy treats. Like this one in Gävle, photographed in 1929.
The important thing about fika is that it can happen anywhere. Going on an adventure? Better bring it with you, like these Swedish ladies bringing their fika down to the dock before taking a summer swim.
In the summer, Swedes take their fika outside, like this family in 1933.
Today you'll find that in Swedish offices, there are always two fika breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This break from work is nothing new, as shown by these workers — photographed in 1956 — taking time to drink their coffee in front of a Gevalia coffee bus.
If you visit Sweden in the summer, you might have the chance to go and pick berries, a popular Swedish summer pastime. Just be sure to bring your thermos for your fika break, like this group of friends drinking coffee and eating open-faced sandwiches.
Hosting a fika gathering is no small affair, and it was certainly something that a lot of time went into. I like to imagine this woman waiting for her guests — her matching coffee pot, cups, and saucers carefully positioned — ready to serve freshly brewed coffee and a variety of cakes and cookies.
While it might just seem to be an everyday habit, the Swedes have turned their coffee break into an art. And couldn't we all use a few more nice coffee breaks in our lives? Make like these ladies and turn your coffee-drinking into a special moment. Happy fika!