Coffee isn't just coffee in Sweden. It's a lifestyle.
Sweden is in the top three of the world's biggest coffee consumers (surpassed only by Finland and the Netherlands), and while Swedes certainly drink coffee in the morning like the rest of us, what's even more important in this Scandinavian country is the coffee break.
In Swedish, it's called fika, both a verb and a noun to indicate the time of day that you sit down to take a break, enjoy a cup of coffee, and preferably have a baked good to go along with it.
Fika is a social activity, and while you can certainly sit down with your kanelbulle (Swedish cinnamon roll) and drink a cup on your own, most often fika is enjoyed with friends. Break rooms at workplaces are often called the "fika room," and you'll usually see coworkers gathering together in the late morning and early afternoon for their holy fika break.
Fika is also an excuse to get together with friends, the chance to hole up in a cafe for an hour, share a piece of chocolate cake and catch up on the happenings of the week.
With the influence of more southern European coffee culture, today you can get everything from a cappuccino to a kaffe latte in Swedish cafes, but the good ole standard remains classic, black, drip coffee. Swedes have also been known to make kokkaffe, boiled coffee, and you'll find a French press in many Swedish homes.
Whatever coffee you're drinking, you're sure to get something sweet with it, which can range from small cookies to big pieces of cake. But you can even use fika to serve as a healthy, uplifting snack. Remember the Stieg Larsson Millenium series? Did it seem like the main character was also putting on a pot of coffee and making an open-faced sandwich? That's because it's perfectly normal Swedish behavior.
So, want to drink coffee like a Swede? Sit down with a friend, find a tasty treat and take a break from your everyday routine. After all, fika is about enjoying life.
(Image credits: Anna Brones)