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  • Milk Shed Cafe

Are Scandinavians Coffee Crazy?!

With Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland all featuring near the top of any coffee-consuming nation table, you would be forgiven for thinking so.

However, for Scandinavians, coffee is not just about the drink itself, it's more about the 'fika'.

The word conjures up not just the elements - the coffee and pastries - but also the 'feel'. It's about relaxation, taking time out and, usually, sharing this with others too.

A 2020 poll showed that 86% of 18 to 79-year-old Swedes drink coffee, with 61% drinking multiple cups per day. Drip coffee is by far the most popular method.

In Nordic countries it is generally accepted that coffee and pastries, cinnamon buns (see below for our recipe), cookies or biscuits are offered when people visit - it's social etiquette.

Coffee culture - fika - also explains why most Scandinavians drink their coffee where it's made - take-away coffee is far less popular. It's not just about the piping hot coffee, it's also about the chill!

So, these coffee-crazy nations aren't what you may expect ... they're not hyperactive, caffeine junkies; they are, in fact, the opposite. Coffee means sociability; it means workplace culture; it means relaxation and it means appreciation. Get your fika feels where you can!

At the Milk Shed Cafe we absolutely encourage fika, and are proud of our Butterworth & Son coffee, but for those not-so-Scandinavian among our customers, we think that fika can be extended to include tea, hot chocolate, chai and turmeric latte. We know it's working when we see people's shoulders drop, their conversations smile and their effort to make their time with us last for as long as they're able.

New Recipe Feature

In Sweden Cinnamon Buns are enjoyed so much that there's a special day for them: Cinnamon Bun Day, held on 4 October. We celebrated it in the café a few days early with lots of different buns. Here's how we make ours:

For the cinnamon bun dough

100g/3½oz unsalted butter

200ml/7fl oz milk

1 tsp salt

250g/9oz plain or wholemeal plain flour, plus extra for dusting

250g/9oz strong white flour

1½ tsp fast-action yeast

1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

4 tbsp caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

olive oil, for greasing

For the filling and topping

75g/2½oz unsalted butter, softened

100g/3½oz caster sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

1 free-range egg, beaten


  1. In a small saucepan heat the butter, milk and salt until the butter is melted. Allow the mixture to cool until it is lukewarm.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, yeast, cardamom and sugar until combined. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Pour in the lukewarm milk mixture and stir everything together to form a sticky dough. You may have to use your hands as the dough becomes stiffer.

  3. Oil the work surface with a teaspoon of olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the oiled surface and knead vigorously for 5-8 minutes, using a plastic scraper as needed to prise the dough from the work surface. Don’t be tempted to add flour, as this will make the buns dry and tough. Keep kneading until the dough is considerably less sticky, smoother and more elastic. Shape into a ball, and put into a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place to prove for an hour, or until doubled in size.

  4. Meanwhile, for the filling and topping, mix the softened butter in a bowl with half the sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Use a fork to mix the sugar and spice into the butter until it is completely combined. Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside.

  5. When the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured work surface and gently roll out into a 36x24cm rectangle. Spread the cinnamon-sugar-butter evenly over the dough with a table or palette knife.

  6. With the longest edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a cylinder. Cut into 12 even slices

  7. Place each slice onto a flattened out paper cupcake case on a baking tray, or into a greased muffin tin. (Baking in a muffin tin will make your cinnamon buns taller and domed.) Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside to prove again for 30-45 minutes, or until risen.

  8. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

  9. Brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg and dust liberally with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 12 minutes until the buns are dark golden-brown.

Visit us for all the fika feels, whether you're crazy for coffee or not!

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 3pm, the Milk Shed Cafe offers a fresh, seasonal menu of hot and cold food, speciality locally-roasted coffee and a range of teas and fresh pastries. There is also a Scandi Pantry offering a range of Scandinavian food and homewares to take away and enjoy between visits. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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