Coffee, Culture, & Countries—Part 1

by Steven Altman about a year ago in travel

Exploring Coffee Break, Fika, & Hygge

Coffee, Culture, & Countries—Part 1

Growing up in Canada, Tim Hortons is the place to go. (This will be debated now and yes I know it’s not the same, but we, as Canadians, are known for it). From the red paper cups, to the simple brown bags that our food is given in, it has always been a stop I make before I leave the country and immediately upon arrival. When I see that sign, I become nostalgic of home and all the great qualities about it. From the hockey name to the winter time designs it is hard to miss a spot as iconic as Tim Hortons. On a personal note it reminds me of friends, family, new opportunities and deep conversations. It was a place to bond, to think and most of all relax. To this day, the advertisements express community, a Canadian identity, one that is united by the cold winters but warm coffee and smiles of familiar faces. It’s the 5 AM drives to practice with your parents, the spot to meet up with friends when you first learned to drive. The place to both start and finish a day with the people you care about. It is not surprising when you know the origins of the chain. Tim Horton was a player for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In a weird way, it symbolizes the stereotype for Canadians as winter and hockey being at our core. But for me, no matter where I am in the world it will always remind me of the Great White North.

When I lived in the USA, our coffee runs circled around Dunkin Donuts and Wawa. Personally, not a fan of Dunkins that’s just me. But Wawa was another level. Coffee day, as a collegiate student, was enough to get you running towards the convenient store after practice just to grab the biggest cup you could get. Any size for 1 dollar, yes please. It became a tradition for my roommates and I to frequent Wawa for coffee multiple times in a day. Study break, coffee. After morning practice, coffee. Midday and only night classes, coffee. What made Wawa special for me was the trips with the guys. The coffee was usually hot, full and plenty of different options. Many nights after hockey it would end up being a meeting place where we would run into other people and find out what festivities were occurring that night or weekend. It felt like a piece of our community without it ever really being apart of it.

When I entered Sweden I was introduced to fika, but before I get too far into this let’s finish the article with some fun stats. Sweden, from my last look, sits 6th for most consumption per kilogram per year at 8.2kg, Denmark 8.7kg and Canada rounding out the top 10 at 6.2kg. Needless to say I’ve spent a lot of time in high consumption areas. As a coffee lover it is a dream.

Next article will continue with fika, hygge, and European coffee shops.

Take a look at the other articles on the site, the brands I support and news about the season as it rolls along.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy fika today and it is hyggeligt!

Steven Altman
Steven Altman
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Steven Altman

He is a minor professional goalie writing about the game of hockey and all the things that come with the traveling/hockey lifestyle. He runs the Minor Pro Life blog and writes poetry in his spare time.

See all posts by Steven Altman