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Love “Hygge”? Try “Fika,” the Scandinavian Way to Take a Coffee Break

You’ve spent all winter hygge-fying your life, with some help from throw blankets, lavender candles and cozying up to the fire with (yep) Danish crime novels. But there’s another Scandinavian philosophy you need to get on board with: the Swedish concept of fika

The word (pronounced “fee-kah”) roughly translates to “coffee break,” but it’s much more than that: It’s the beloved Swedish and Finnish custom of pausing during your day to catch up with friends over a cup of coffee and a sweet treat.

Yep, baked goods are totally part of the deal. They traditionally take the form of Swedish cinnamon buns, but biscuits or cookies will also do the trick. The important thing is the act of slowing down and taking a break—in other words, chugging a latte from the Starbucks drive-through doesn’t cut it. 

Other than that, there aren’t too many rules: You can fika at home (perhaps with a recipe from Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break), at the office (it’s encouraged in Swedish workplaces) or at a café (like the eponymous New York City coffee chain).

Conveniently, the term can be used both as a noun (“I could use a fika right now”) or a verb (“What time should we fika?”). And you may notice something else: Invert the two syllables and you end up with something that sounds a lot like coffee—much like fika itself, it’s a surprisingly lovely reinvention of something familiar. 

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