What is fika? A guide to the cozy Swedish coffee break

What is fika? A guide to the cozy Swedish coffee break
Posted at 3:41 PM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-02 11:25:07-05

You might be familiar with “hygge” (hoo-gah), the Danish term for coziness and conviviality in the depths of winter. But the Swedes have an equally cozy practice we’re embracing this season: Fika, “the delightful custom of enjoying coffee and a treat with friends.” That’s exactly how Sweden’s official tourism website defines it, anyway, and they also call fika (fee-kah) a tradition “as Swedish as ABBA.” We’re in!

Fika, both a verb and a noun, requires only three ingredients: coffee (or your beverage of choice), a snack (either sweet or savory will do) and a friend (or several!).

While it all started with coffee — “fika” is a play on the 19th century Swedish word for coffee, “kaffi” — fika is, at its core, a social gathering. Many Swedish workplaces even build fika breaks into their workdays; the country’s most famous company, Ikea, even built fika into its corporate philosophy: “More than a coffee break, fika is a time to share, connect and relax with colleagues. Some of the best ideas and decisions happen at fika.”

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Now let’s talk treats. According to Visit Sweden, the five Swedish fika classics are princess cake, strawberry cake, sticky chocolate cake, seven types of cookies (no more, no less!) and cinnamon or cardamom buns.

The cardamom buns are especially synonymous with fika. To make your own, we like this recipe from King Arthur Flour. which uses Cloud Forest Cardamom and Black Cocoa. The result is a beautiful, plush treat that’s the perfect accompaniment to your fika!

King Arthur Flour cardamom buns
King Arthur Flour

How To Fika At Home

If you’re now sold on integrating this cozy practice into your daily life, read on for a few of our favorite selections for creating the perfect fika experience from the comfort of your home.

The Little Book of Fika

The Little Book of Fika

Start here, with a complete guide to “the uplifting daily ritual of the Swedish coffee break.” This little book includes several key recipes for your tasty fika treats, including cinnamon buns and sticky chocolate cake.

$7.99 from Amazon $9.99 from Thriftbooks

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Fika mug

fika mug

Probably the biggest necessity for fika — aside from the coffee itself — is a cozy coffee mug to drink from! We like this patterned pick with the word “fika” as well as a few adorable images of pastries befitting the occasion. It comes in seven different styles.

$15.60 from Zazzle Similar style: $20 from Society6

Arvid Nordquist Coffee, Dark Roast

Arvid Nordquist Coffee, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 1lb Bag

When selecting coffee for your fika, dark roast is the traditional way to go — and, of course, we wanted to select beans from a Swedish coffee company! Arvid Nordquist is also organic, fair-trade and women-run, so you can feel good about enjoying a cup.

$13.49 from Amazon

Nyakers Swedish Original Ginger Snaps Cookies

Nyakers Swedish Original Ginger Snaps Cookies

Technically fika calls for exactly seven types of cookies, but these authentic Swedish ginger snaps can get you started. They’re delivered in a gorgeous, ornate tin that you can use long after your fika is over!

$29.27 at Amazon

What do you think? Ready to give fika a try? Invite a few friends over, brew up some coffee and you’re all set!

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