Four Reasons I Prefer a Swedish Coffeehouse to an Italian One


(Kaffeverket, Stockholm, Sweden (a photo by Huseyin Aysan)

Italy is one of my favorite countries and coffee is one of my favorite drinks. Until recently, Italy and coffee for me was the best combination ever, plus brioche a la crème. There was only one issue in this setup that could spoil my sunny Italian day: I needed to wake up and be ready for breakfast at least a quarter to twelve, that is, if I wanted to drink my cappuccino without any embarrassment. But twelve is a bit too early for breakfast and a bit too late for fresh pastry, besides, no one drinks cappuccinos after twelve and I, unfortunately, have a craving for a milky and foamy coffee all day long.

Luckily, I discovered that a good Italian coffee and Italy is not the sole combination possible under the sun. In the most unlikely place of all, in the North of Europe, and namely in Sweden, they make coffee as good as in Italy and serve my fav cappuccinos all day long, without any biased looks.

  1. Here are some points that make my coffee drinking a much more pleasant experience in Sweden rather than in Italy.Coffeehouses. They are small and cozy, and full of warm smells – of coffee, spices and baked goods. You just don’t want to get out into a cold street again! Windows here are usually wide (to see passers-by better) and lights are warm (to make you feel closer to fellow coffee drinkers). All you could wish, in the end, is to cuddle in a heap of cushions and simply move your office into a coffeehouse. No one crowds around and waiters don’t hover over you, like hawks.
  2. No pressure. That’s what I want from my ideal coffeehouse. This is a place, where I read, write, brood, and meet people, and all of it I want to do without haste. In Italy, even in its Southern part, everything is on the fly and even if no one would bat an eyelid if I sit at a table for one hour or two, the atmosphere is simply not relaxing enough. The only desire there is to fold my newspaper, down that cup and get going. In Sweden, on the other hand, no one seems to be in a hurry to leave the blessed oases of coffee and cocoa.
  3. Fresh pastry. I can get it in Sweden at any time of day and be sure that it will be crispy-soft, sweet and savory, just as I like it. Moreover, they don’t seem to run out of my favorite ones, ever.
  4. A wide choice of roasts and types of coffee. I’ve heard that coffee in Sweden is as diverse as in GB or in the US, but since I have no first-hand experience of consuming coffee in abovementioned countries, I will raise my hand for Sweden. There are many roasters to buy beans from. Some coffeehouses even do their own roasts and some of them have beans of different origins on their list, which might change every day, so your coffee experience is going to be quite diverse.

However, even in a coffee paradise I can find a flaw, a leakage, a crack in a wall…. Even if have my breakfast coffee in peace here in Sweden, a night coffee drinking, unfortunately is not accessible.  You simply cannot find an open coffeehouse after 8 pm, which is a shame. Most coffeehouses stop working at 4-6 pm, and a 24/7 coffee you could get only at a 7/11 and for this one you need to be really desperate.

And yes, my ice cream I still eat only in Italy.

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