Is Sweden’s ‘fika’ break concept going global?

Scandinavia is well known for its massive coffee consumption culture. The Finns have always been number one in the world, around 10kg of roasted coffee drunk per person per year, but Norwegians, Swedes and Danes are quite close behind with 6-8kg per person per year. Also the Scandinavian food culture is expanding to all around the world and Denmark especially is leading the way.

Scandinavian coffee culture

The coffee culture in Scandinavia is quite different than anywhere else in the world. First of all, they have always been drinking filter coffee and not until recent years the espresso based drinks have found their way into their cafés and homes too. They are used to brew large quantities of very light roasted coffee.

Coffee breaks during working hours are written in the law. Yes, you read it right. In the Finnish law it is stated that everyone is entitled to have a coffee break during a work day. In the best scenario it creates productivity and builds up team spirit, so it’s not just because they love coffee more than life. During a coffee break you can meet up with your colleagues, ease your possible stress and relax. 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.

“In the United States for example, you get your coffee to go. In Sweden, you sit down, you enjoy the moment, and that’s what people want to do more and more. Now it seems the concept is starting to get greater global recognition, thanks to Swedish coffee shops abroad and a growing amount of literature in English on the subject.”

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