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Fika: Swedish Coffee Ritual Captured in A Documentary Series

Fika: to have coffee is a web documentary series about fika, a small yet essential part of Swedish day-to-day life. The series created by Fabian Schmid, Swiss student of audiovisual media, portrays the popular ritual in six episodes. A new episode is published every Monday and it has already become our morning coffee ritual.

“When I went to Sweden in 2015 to spend one school term of my studies in Gothenburg, I was introduced to fika and Swedish day-to-day life,” describes Fabian the roots of his interest in Swedish coffee culture. Later, when the time to decide of his final project came, he embarked on a journey through several Swedish cities to make a web series about fika. “Over the course of three weeks I visited some of my favorite cafés as well as some new ones,” explains Fabian the process of making the documentary. He talked to many people in order to get the essence of what it means to drink coffee in Sweden.

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After seeing the first great episode, we wanted to learn a little bit more about the man behind the series. In the following interview we asked Fabian Schmid questions about his journey towards fika.

What sparked the interest of a Swiss filmmaker in Fika to the extent that he decided to make a whole documentary series about that?

I guess it’s a combination of several things: I love coffee, travels and learning about other cultures. I really enjoy spending time at cafés and usually ​search for the best cafés whenever I am traveling, ​sort of like you guys I guess. I like documentary filmmaking​ too. When I went to Sweden in 2015 to spend one semester of my studies in Gothenburg, I was introduced to fika and Swedish day-to-day life. So all these things sort of made this happen.

What is the most important lesson that you have learned about Swedish culture while making the documentary series?

That’s a hard one. Maybe it’s the many differences between Swiss and Swedish cultures that aren’t really obvious at first, but after a while you notice more and more things. I learned about many of these things a year ago when I spent five months in Gothenburg. I experienced Swedish society and Swedish people in quite a different way now though, shooting the series and talking a lot about fika, culture and the little things that matter.

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Does everybody in Sweden still fika? The statement in a recent Businessinsider article said that the tradition was dying. What is your opinion on that?

I’m sure there are people in Sweden who don’t call what they do fika, and don’t have any interest in it. However, when talking to people about it when shooting the series, I really got the impression that most Swedes do fika – and do so a lot. The ritual is definitely different now compared to 20 or 50 years ago, I will address this in the following episodes too.

How do you like to drink and brew your coffee?

Most days I drink an espresso, a flat white and some filter coffee, mostly brewed with an Aeropress, sometimes a v60.

Now you are an expert on Swedish coffee culture, what are three Swedish cafes that every coffee lover should visit?

Tough decision! ​Besides the ones I featured ​in the series, ​I’d choose ​Viktors and​ ​Kale’i​ in Gothenburg​.​ Both are pretty amazing in coffee as well as atmosphere and food​. And maybe I would add Drop Coffee in Stockholm to the list.

Do you have any other plans in the field of documentaries, once the series comes to its end?

I don’t have any specific plans in this field yet, however, I ​will probably work on another coffee-related project again sooner or later.​​

Learn more about Fika:to have coffee and watch the next episode!
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