One of my favorite parts about Stockholm so far is the coffee. It can be found anywhere, anytime, and it’s always delicious. I thought I’d catch you guys up on some of my favorite coffee-related experiences in Sweden from the past few weeks.
Fika is a large aspect of Swedish culture, and the Swedes take it very seriously. Fika is the concept of taking a break from whatever you are doing to enjoy some coffee or tea while talking with others. Life can be so fast-paced sometimes, but I’ve really appreciated the coziness of a fika with friends, classmates, or professors to break up a busy day. Also, it’s not fika without some type of pastry 🙂
On my first day of Medical Ethics, halfway through the class, my professor says, “Okay, who wants some coffee?” He proceeds to pull out a pitcher of coffee and some cookies out of his bag. I thought that this was the best day of class ever, but little did I know that he would continue to bring coffee to every single class! I always look forward to our Medical Ethics fikas because it’s fun to take a break from note-taking to discuss some controversial ethical scenarios with my friends in the class over a cup of coffee.
While fika typically an opportunity to spend time chatting with friends, I have also found value in solo-fika-ing. This has been one of my favorite things to do here. I pick a new area of the city, walk through the streets for a while, and stop for a cup of coffee. It has been a great way for me to explore different parts of the city.
One day, I was sitting in a coffee shop about a 10-minute walk from where I have class. The menu was completely in Swedish, everyone in the café was speaking Swedish, and I was eating a Swedish pastry that I had never heard of before. Then, all of a sudden “Country Roads,” starts playing over the speaker. I thought this was so funny. All it takes is “almost heaven” to feel at home in a very foreign situation.
The coffee culture here in Sweden is a bit different than America. For starters, the coffee is very strong and flavorful. The Swedes don’t like to ruin the coffee by dumping sugar into it, but I’m not quite sure I can commit to that part of the culture yet 🙂 Oat milk is very popular here, and I have to say that it is delicious and also is better for the environment. I was surprised to like the oat milk so much because I do not like most dairy-free milk alternatives like almond milk or soy milk. The other big difference in the coffee culture is the lack of iced drinks. Most of the coffee and espresso here is hot, which makes sense because it can be quite chilly here!
DIS, the study abroad program I am in, shares its campus with Sweden’s Royal College of Music (aka Kungliga Musikhögskolan). The building is really beautiful and it is cool to see a bunch of students carrying around their instruments throughout the day. One of my favorite parts about having class in this building is the restaurant in the lobby called Oktav. I typically stop here in the mornings for some coffee and fruit, but they also have great pastries and authentic Swedish meals, all for very reasonable prices. Also, all DIS students get a discount on lunches! Swedes like to go all out for lunch. Every meal comes with an entrée (Fish, meat, or vegetarian option), a salad, bread with butter, and endless coffee (of course). This has been a convenient and inexpensive way for me to try some delicious Swedish foods.
That’s enough coffee/food talk for now! Stay tuned for more Life-in-Stockholm updates!