Tag Archives: fika


Every society has its own way of doing conversations, in fact, most humans also have a way to doing this. Some of us talk and gossip at bars, in some countries is very common to have long phone conversations, some of us feel more comfortable having conversations online, and as I may elaborate on later in the blog, even this blog entry is a conversation in a way.

I love conversations. Generally, I am engaged in the conversation, often listening so deeply I cant think of a response. Though, sometimes my thoughts wander so much that I forget to listen. haha, its always fun and unique. But there are times, when I do not like the conversations, the surroundings or maybe the tone, of course. What I do like about Sweden is that there is this really nice Swedish thing called fika. You can read more about it here.

For me fika is not so much about the coffee or the cakes (though the cakes are delicious) but about the conversations. For me, sometimes they are breaks from stressful meetings or long lectures. Often providing insight on how your team members are doing outside of working, which almost always affects the work and helps build a meaningful relationship.

But, thats just one side of a fika conversation. For me, it is also about taking time out for yourself and thinking, reflecting and talking with people. These are the long conversations that last a couple of hours, that go deep and leave you overwhelmed. In such conversations, the boundary between the speaker and listener is lost, often both are intertwined in a story that leads to a place neither of them has complete control over. These conversations leave you happy or satisfied and fulfilled in a certain way. I think of these as nourishment for my mind and soul, just as important as food is for my physical being.

I believe, it takes two people to complete a sentence. The listener or the reader is almost never passive. What we say, write, communicate or express always depends on whom we are telling it to, how the listener reacts and in a way leads the conversation.

We all love and need conversations to go to places we haven’t gone, to see ourselves in ways we haven’t seen, and to be in minds we haven’t been. And fikas are a great way of doing just that.

P.S. : If you love conversations, you might want to check out this start up started by a couple of Students from SSE : TankeApoteket

How hard-working are the Swedes?

%%  I’m chairing a Chalmers Formula Student team meeting today. Sponsors and alumni will be coming to listen to what our engineers have to say about next generation racecar development. What stresses me out more than the presentation itself is Fika! (It’s not a swear word, it’s Swedish for coffee break.) I’m in charge of arranging the Fika break, which includes strong coffee and kanelbullar (sugar-loaded cinnamon buns).

Fika is a religion here. Swedish people worship coffee. I don’t know where the word “Fika” came from. One explanation is kaffe = “ka” + “fi”. And by transitive property, A+B=B+A… Alas! Kaffe = Ka+Fe = Fi+ka = Fika!

Kanonbra (super good)! Enough math.


So how hardworking are the Swedes? We seem to talk a lot about their endless summer vacations, countless Fika breaks, eating mountains of kanelbullar, and etc.

Based on my observation, after intake of kanelbullar and coffee, the Swedes are turbocharged with potential energy. Work gets done at rapid rates. And once this energy runs low, Fika break is in order. My point is the Swedes are pretty efficient. They take effective breaks and gets the work done.

Study hall

Swedes are perhaps a bit more introverted. But the plus side is that they are respectful of others’ boundaries. In the study hall, the tables begin to fill up after 8 am and remain busy until dinnertime. In such a crowded place, there’s no chaos. It’s not a library, yet it’s not terribly noisy. People might have a little chitchat but they are not disrupting anyone. This type of studying environment can be found all over campus. Even the student union pub! Some are having a good time with friends over beers, while some are washing down dry biology assignments with beverages. Skål!

study room

No skål for me. I need to study for tomorrow’s final exams.


coffee innovation