What is fika? Mastering the Swedish art of taking a break

enjoying coffee

Fika is sometimes known as ‘the almighty Swedish coffee break’, which is definitely something we can get on board here at Melt! It’s not just any coffee break though – for it to be fika, it means doing things a bit differently.

What is fika?

To understand fika, it helps to understand the Danish concept of hygge. You’ve probably heard of hygge (pronounced hue-gah), as it’s something we talk a lot about here at Melt. Now, it’s not a word with a direct English translation. It’s more used to describe a ‘sense’ – the Danes use it to acknowledge a moment that’s cosy, charming or special. This can be alone or with company, ordinary or extraordinary. Hygge isn’t something you can hold in your hand, and it can be subjective – what’s hygge for one person might not be hygge for another. But that’s part of the beauty of it! Here at Melt we love to use our candles to cultivate a sense of hygge. Blush or Lavender are popular favourites!

Fika is the natural extension of hygge. Essentially it’s the same concept, as applied to the common coffee break. Hygge is all about slowing down, recognising and being present in the moment. This is also the concept behind fika, fondly described by some as the almighty Swedish coffee break. It’s the ‘break’ part that’s key. Just taking a moment or two to give yourself a breather, and appreciate the beauty of everyday life. At home, one of our wonderful luxury scented candles can help you achieve that beautiful state of bliss. But what happens when you’re at work? Well, that’s where the Swedish concept of fika comes in!

Why coffee?

having coffee in office

Well, coffee isn’t necessarily a central part of fika. You can also enjoy it with a cup of tea, and a baked good or two is traditional! Coffee was where the concept of fika first started, though, and you have to admit that the choice of drink does make our cultural differences very noticeable. Lots of us over here in the UK treat coffee as fuel. Pop the kettle on, get a cuppa down you, and get on with the work day. In Sweden though, a morning coffee break is something to look forward to. It’s a time when everything stops for a few seconds, and you can savour the moment (much as you can with hygge!).

As with hygge, there’s a fairly loose definition of fika. No one can tell you whether or not your break is ‘really’ fika. There’s no rules about what foods and drinks you can and can’t enjoy with it. As long as you’re taking the time to enjoy a break, that’s fika!

And if you’re wondering about how you can adopt fika for your own office, we’ve got good news for you: you might be closer than you think! According to the Swedes, hospitality and fika go hand in hand. When visitors arrive, if your first instinct is to ‘get kettle on’, and sit down for a quick cuppa, you’re already enjoying fika! Traditionally, many Swedish people have a fika break twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. Depending on your line of work though, that may or may not be workable. Don’t worry too much about the specifics though, because as we said, there are no hard and fast rules. Just take the time to enjoy a few quick, quiet moments to yourself each day. You might be surprised at how good it can make you feel!

Here at Melt, our luxury scented candles are the perfect accompaniment to fika breaks. Just recently we discussed some ideal scented candles to have in the workplace. (One of our top favourites was Shine!) Why not see what we’ve got in stock right here on our website, and see if you can pick out your own favourites?

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