Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pippi Longstocking: What is a Swedish Coffee Party?

A wonderful scene in the musical, Pippi Longstocking, and a cornerstone in Swedish culture, the coffee party is a foreign concept to Americans. 

Pippi Longstocking Coffee Party

What is a coffee party?

Unlike the multitude of tea parties featuring outfits from the dress up box and American Girl doll or teddy bear guests, the coffee party offers the Swedish alternative to the art of enjoying a beverage with friends.

Often called a Fika, coffee parties are a coffee break that involves drinking coffee, tea, or juice and eating some sort of sweet treat like a cinnamon roll or open faced sandwich.  There are often two fikas taken in a work day, giving employees the chance to catch up with each other over a beverage and snack.  Sweden mandates employees receive two fika breaks a day, and unlike American coffee breaks, employees won't be found glued to their phones or laptops--these breaks are purely for socializing.

Coffee Party

Similarly to American customs, a fika can also serve as a casual date.  Fikas can be held in homes or cafes.  There are even fika specials on train cars for those traveling in Sweden!  Clearly they take their coffee breaks very seriously.

The word fika is both an noun and a verb in Swedish.  You can drink fika, as well as be asked to fika with a coworker!

Unlike the American desire to consume caffeine as quickly as possible with drive through Starbucks and double shot espresso in a can, fika is less about indulging in caffeinated beverages and sugary snacks, and more about taking time for yourself, twice a day to slow down, take a break, and enjoy the little pleasures of living.  Fika is the perfect excuse to reconnect with yourself and others.

Thinking of incorporating fika into your life? Here are some amazing recipes for fika treats. 

Want to read even more about fika? Here's the book for you!

And don't forget to see a coffee party in action this spring! Pippi runs January 21-March 19.  Click for tickets. 

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