50 Shades of Fika


Written by Katharina

19 Jul 2019


4 letters, 2 syllables, 1 word.
Maybe THE most important Swedish word.

Fika ↗️ is much more than just having a cup of coffee and eating pastries. It is quality time with your family, friends, loved ones or colleagues.

Students sitting at an outdoors cafe drinking coffee.
Outdoor fika/ Photo: Ulf Lundin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is perfect to meet up with classmates, Swedes or anyone else you’d like to know better. Sometimes, fika is a mystery and that is one thing I love about it! Are you having fika as friends? As a date? You never know and you never have to tell. Fika is casual and uncomplicated. It can happen anywhere, anytime, preferably several times per day. It is the Swede’s holy grail.

Did you know?

The word has its origins ↗️ in an older version (“kaffi”) of kaffe (= Swedish for coffee). Then, using backslang (like verlan in French) ↗️ you arrive at today’s version!

Kanelbullar – cinnamon buns

Just like bonfires belong to Valborg, candles to Sankta Lucia and flower crowns to Midsommar, a kanelbulle belongs to coffee. Cinnamon bun + coffee = fika and it could not be more Swedish!

Collage of photos featuring different sizes of cinnamon buns.
Kanelbullar for life!/ Photo: Katharina

Cinnamon buns are the most common fika piece, I would say. You can find them everywhere! Any café, the uni cafeteria or at Pressbyrån, ↗️ giant ones called “Hagabulle” ↗️ in Haga district (Gothenburg, top/middle), 5 for SEK 20 ↗️ at IKEA Bistro (top/right and bottom/left), at company visits (bottom/right) and many more. Cinnamon buns never dissapoint!

Kardamom & vanilla buns

The younger brothers and sisters of kanelbullar are kardemummabullar, vaniljbullar and many other forms of tasty buns that you can find in bakeries across Sweden! I have not decided yet whether I prefer kardamom over cinnamon buns or not?!

Collage of photos of vanilla buns.
More buns!/ Photo: Katharina

Coffee + cake

Getting from single pieces to complete fikas. I have collected a selection of really delicious coffee breaks that crossed my way over the past year living in Sweden. From blueberry cheesecake, to typical morotskaka (carrot cake, top/middle) and kladdkaka (chocolate mud cake, center) and several other tasty treats.

Collage of photos of cakes.
Fika/ Photo: Katharina

I’ve also had loads of Chai lattes, more kladdkaka (top/center) and finally tried dammsugare ↗️ (the green roll, bottom/right). Right when I moved to Sweden, I discovered my love for chokladbollar ↗️ (ball, bottom/right) and probably had alone 50 of them throughout the year. Another blog post called “50 shades of chokladbollar” anyone? 😉

Collage of photos featuring cups of coffee and cake.
Fika pt. 2/ Photo: Katharina

Fika – the ‘light’ way

Sometimes, you do not want a heavy cake or sweet bun. Sometimes, your body does not crave for coffee. Below is a selection of comparably light fikas I had in Sweden. Chai Lattes, hot chocolates, espessi, latte machiatos, apple juices with rhubarb pie or raw berry cake and a heavenly waffle loaded with fruit.

Collage of photos of different hot drinks.
When in the mood for a lighter or fruity fika…/ Photo: Katharina

It’s sweet, it’s sticky, it’s Semla!

Does that heading sound familiar to you??? Well, well, well congrats! Seems like you are a really frequent reader! As semlor are among our all time favorite fika treats, we recently devoted a whole blog post to them! Emma, Lauren and myself made the ultimate semla test across Sweden! Swedes savor them during winter and their peak season is Fat Tuesday – or Semla Day!

Collage of photos of semlor.
Semla party!/ Photo: Katharina

Since I only managed to put together 44/50 fika photos, you can join Andrés‘ and Usisipho‘s fika to fill in the remaining gap! 🙂 You can also visit our instagram account ↗️ where we frquently post #fikafriday photos ↗️ and save all our fikas in one highlight. ↗️

Other than that: enjoy your coffee break! 🍰



Written by Katharina

19 Jul 2019