There is nothing in this world quite like Nordic café culture.
It’s magical, the way the low winter light filters through the windows, and the way the hot waffles are smothered in rhubarb marmalade – sometimes grown right in the café owner’s back yard. The way the candles flicker softly across the tables, and the way the rich, steamy black coffee is the perfect remedy to melt the outside cold.All of these elements, plus the generous warmth of the people running the cafes, is what makes you feel like you’ve just walked into your grandmother’s kitchen or your best friend’s living room – where, for those cherished moments in a busy life, you feel like you're back home.
Through our travels, we have discovered some of the best cafés and hideaways in the region – a converted barn outside of Stockholm, a mountainside waffle house in Norway, and a charming café perched at the edge of a fjord in a tiny village in Iceland. We’ve also been lucky enough to have lived in the Nordic countries and to have made lasting friendships, and had the pleasure of being invited into homes to share and experience their coffee rituals.
We plan to document many more of these people, places, and traditions during our three-month trip throughout the Nordic countries this summer. Our findings will be published in our book: TAKK: Explorations of Nordic Café Culture.
Our book will take you on a special journey right along with us as we visit cafes and private gatherings at home. The pages will be filled with photographs, interviews, recipes, and beautiful, unique stories.
Coffee is not just a beverage the Nordic people drink on the run in order to get energized. It is a deeply held ritual where friends come together - in the home or café - to slow down and enjoy each other’s company. In Sweden, there is a term called fika, which means to take a break and drink coffee with others. This is a daily occurrence that allows people to take a moment out of their busy lives and reconnect with those around them. In Denmark, hygge is a word that roughly translates to getting cozy and relaxing with good friends and a good drink.
As our world continues to get more hectic and anonymous, we firmly believe that this culture is not just a luxury, but a necessity. We hope that by showing Nordic café culture, we will inspire others in their own creation of special spaces and intimate gatherings.
Sam and Corey
We are two good friends who share a love for the Nordic countries. Sam was a student of film at Copenhagen University in 2006, and later lived in Iceland to work in a 100-year-old house that is now a bustling country café. Corey’s love affair began in 2011 when she was an architecture student in Copenhagen. She worked at a non-profit café in the neighborhood of Nørrebro where she was introduced to the Danish ‘hygge’ and has been a constant candle-lighter ever since.
How you can help
Financial funding is vital for us to travel to these countries and write our book. We are thrilled to accept donations from $5 to $5000! We would also greatly appreciate if you have a special café to recommend in Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Iceland and Finland, or if you have any stories about Nordic coffee culture or traditions that might support our project. Please get in touch - we would love to hear from you. Email us at Nordiccafeculture@gmail.com.
Takk is Icelandic for thank you. For us, Takk symbolizes a certain gratitude that comes with hospitality, both in the home and in a café environment. We are sincerely grateful for your support.
- (60 days)