Do you realize that we can easily find cafes that serve tea or coffee around us? Wherever and whenever you are, finding a coffee shop or cafe is an accomplished assignment these days. Based on Euromonitor International data, around 2016 the growth of coffee shops increased to 9.1% among restaurant categories in terms of global sales. Another example, we can take a look at the number of Starbucks locations which grew from 8.569 places in 2004 and reached 32.660 places in 2020 based on Starbucks’s data. This phenomenon of coffee shop’s explosion is not an unreasonable event or just an economic phase. It is more than that. We can see something bigger than the economy or material advantage from the coffee shop business. It just turned out to be a sign of culture. So, how does coffee and tea break time become a contributing tool in human life?
Tea and coffee break times are not out of place activities in the 21st century, because tea and coffee break time has been a defined culture since many centuries ago. A long time ago, Tea and coffee break time was proposed to occupy people’s leisure time and accompany their conversation in order to increase the mood in the league. It happened before technology and any effective entertainment world were made up. In other countries, tea time has been a formal event and turned out to be a sacred ceremony. Japan is one of the countries that sacred the tea time. In China, Teatime is a substitute for how people enjoy their time with a drink without exposing the vulgarity of enjoying a drink, like when they are luxuriating alcohol. In the Near East, they love to drink tea as a perfect match with their chatty activity or a wholesome thing to be offered while there is a guest in their house. Last but not least, Britain is well known as a tea culture country and has been the largest per capita consumer of tea in the world. In Britain, there are a few strict schedules to enjoy tea time, and commonly they drink tea more than once a day. Britain consumed tea because, in the colonization era, coffee was the stereotype drink for the lower and working class. Otherwise, tea and hot chocolate were meant for the upper class and aristocracy, because the price of tea was a bit high.
Unfortunately, many countries lost their Tea and or Coffee breaktime culture for a moment by force of war. First world war, second world war, or many local wars just made people forget that they need some leisure time to reconnect with people around them. They were forced to hate each other and left their comfort zone, so the culture slowly is not a popular and convertible activity anymore. For example, France. When the revolution and local war happened, drinking a cup of tea was not an easy thing to do. They have another priority, it is to help their people to fight another one. But now, the culture starts growing and trying to find its best place in people’s life.
We can see, again, the friction of Tea and Coffee culture from individual preferences becoming a social necessity. Recently, many young people have started to build up a new type of work environment. This kind of ambition needs something big in their first step to make it happen. Regarding the fact that startup companies started to use interpersonal bonding strategy, it clearly affects the shape, bureaucracy, and all of the systems incorporate offices don’t fit in people’s pace anymore. Thus, these days offices try to leave out the old corporate stiff work environment by using tea or coffee break time as the easiest way to penetrate human’s boundaries.
Sweden is one of the countries that really appreciate coffee and tea break time. They made tea and coffee break time as a mandatory culture in their routine. Even some people refused to do this session, unconsciously they did it with their friend, colleague, or their family. They called this session ‘Fika’. In linguistic terms, Fika came from ‘Kaffi’ which means coffee. They replaced the last syllable to the front as it is. Fika commonly is coffee time, but it is totally fine for people who have other preferences such as soda, tea, or juice. They spend 15 – 30 minutes on weekdays to do Fika or more times on weekends. They do Fika everywhere. Luckily, Sweden is an open country so many citizens freely do many activities in nature or public property.
Fika really helps the growth of startup companies in Sweden. Admittedly, Stockholm is the second place after Silicon Valley that produces many startups. Fika does support how startup companies are still running with the younger generation within. The ‘mandatory’ to do Fika once a day is just really meant for workers. They can talk to each other informally, have a friendly conversation, take a rest from the job’s pressure, and get to know colleagues in order to understand each other’s perspective casually with a cup of tea or coffee. Therefore, tea and coffee break time is just a perfect form to combine with a professional occasion. With a perfect amount of Fika’s timing, people will enjoy their job and won’t lose their opportunity to be friends with others even in their busiest timeline.
Deliberately, tea and coffee break time has an important role to melt down the stiffness around company workflow. Sometimes, we need to breathe in the middle of this stifling pace as the world keeps changing day by day. Spending your time just to live your ‘now’, sipping a cup of hot tea or coffee, laughing with your lovely person, talking, and having a good conversation with people around you will not make you lose everything in this world. Based on what Swede did, being human and trying to treat other people humanly won’t make you left behind. Otherwise, you will get unexpected sceneries from other people’s insight and get an adequate life portion at once.
Written by Sri Widari