Excuse me? You kiss your mother with that mouth? What is this Fika? Why should you care?
Fika: An important part of Swedish culture – it means “making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat.”
Oh, so, a coffee date? Put simply, yes. But you know I’m not here to put things simply… So, surprise! There’s more to it than that. 😉
It’s funny (not), I drafted this post in November 2019. November and December of 2019 were horrible for reasons I wont go into… So I figured I’d come back to writing it when I was in a better place emotionally, then 2020 happened. 10 months later and I’m READY to talk about fika.
Fika is a social concept. It requires 1) going out 2) with friends 3) drinking coffee and eating together 4) hugging, connecting, and conversing.
2020 hates Fika. So I almost didn’t write this post.
But the reality is, we need some damn Fika right now, my friends.
As is said on the Swedish Culture blog Hej Sweden : “Swedish people – often described as distant, calm and unsocial – love their fika. It gives them the opportunity to meet and hang out with friends, get to know new people, check out potential partners or network with business folks”. Covid has created this fear of being around our friends and I think that as long as we’re all responsible, aware of our bodies and how they’re feeling, and hygienic, we can (and should) make this work.
Mid way into writing this post, I was looking for images that represent fika and I came across a photo of the cast of FRIENDS. I couldn’t help but think – man, they “went for fika” just about every single day, that’s how it should be.
It was their favorite thing to do together, and for good reason –
it’s good for your health to go grab coffee with your friends.
Ready to start going out for fika? Here’s what you need:
No.1) C O F F E E: Fika first and foremost means “to break for coffee” so of course, you need something to sip on. But tea works too! Get a hot or cold beverage and sit down to savor it. Sip slowly, and appreciate the satisfaction a delicious beverage brings.
Pro tip: Order an americano with white chocolate & toasted marshmallow, half sweet, with an inch of cream (or alt. milk). Thank me later. 😉
No.2) T R E A T S: The second element to fika is getting a treat! It may be a small meal, or just a quick sweet pick-me-up. Whether savory or sweet, take time to fully embrace it. How’s the taste? Texture? Smell? What does it remind you of? Take it all in.
Pro tip: Try a scone! They’re incredibly under-rated and deserve way more praise than they get. Savory scones are amazing too.
No.3) F R I E N D S: Going to a coffee shop alone is a wonderful treat, but going with a close friend to catch up is a whole other type of magic. Visit your favorite coffee shop with your closest confidant, or maybe a pal from your past, and get lost in conversation and reminiscing.
Pro tip: Ask your friend (and vice-versa) what some of their favorite flavors are, whether they want hot or cold, and their milk preference; then order drinks for each other as a fun out-of-the-norm surprise.
No.4) R E L A X: Possibly the most important element of them all, this is a time to relax and unwind. Just as the cast of FRIENDS does, let your guard down and really enjoy each other’s company. Actively listen. Have meaningful conversations. Sit in a comfortable chair or couch. Going for fika should be restful and rejuvinating.
Pro tip: Find a secluded area in the cafe or coffee shop for you and your friend(s). The easier it is to hear one another, and let your guard down without fear of others overhearing, the more relaxed you’ll be.
I think you know enough now to take fika into your own hands. Now you just have to make it happen. Call up your friend for a Saturday coffee date. Let them know you learned about this thing called fika and you want to give it a shot. Most importantly, have some good coffee & great conversations.