Master the art of taking a break.

On a recent business trip to Sweden I was introduced to the cultural phenomenon of fika (pronounced ‘fee-ka’). Forget quickly knocking back an espresso or rapidly munching al desko, fika is a chance for Swedes to slow down, relax, socialise and enjoy their coffee and sweet or savoury treat with friends, family and colleagues.

The word ‘fika’, used as both a noun and a verb, is derived from the Swedish word for coffee (kaffe) – but fika doesn’t necessarily have to involve coffee; the key is to pause your day.

This cherished custom is an inclusive ritual designed to re-charge, re-inspire and re-connect. It’s a lifestyle; it’s ingrained within the Swedish psyche; it’s so important that it’s even a pre-requisite in many employment contracts.

As soon as I realised that fika was officially a ‘thing’, I started to notice it everywhere I went: in offices, cafes, bars, in parks, outside of homes – everywhere. Everyone also seems to have their favourite kind of fika coffee, tea, or soft drink, which is then paired to perfection with a pastry, a biscuit, or sandwich depending on the time of day – because fika-ing can occur several times a day.

By the time I returned home I was a complete fika fan. I wanted to bring a bit of fika into our everyday routine and found this beauty completely dedicated to the concept: Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. The superbly illustrated book charts the history, social etiquette and language of fika, and includes a wealth of recipes for traditional, modern, on-the-go and special occasion treats (think cinnamon buns, almond tarts and gingersnaps).

Fika. The art of the Swedish coffee break

Some even believe the best ideas spring from fika breaks. Perhaps we have fika to thank for Ikea, H&M and all the many other innovative Swedish exports that prove the Swedes must be doing something right…right?

Fancy a fika?