The Coffee Break Cure for Loneliness

Author of New Book on Fika Says Americans Have Much to Gain

by Drinking Coffee the Way the Swedes Do

Émile Odback encourages them to begin on International Coffee Day, Sept. 30

Americans love coffee and coffee breaks. But they often drink their coffee on the run, absentmindedly and solo while doing something else. Instead, they could be savoring their brew and taking time to get to know their coworkers, family members and fellow coffee shop habituates the way the Swedish do.

In time for International Coffee Day, Sept. 30, Émile Odback, a Swede living in Santa Barbara, hopes to introduce Americans to the Swedish concept of Fika (pronounced fee-kah). He sees it as a means to make Americans as happy as the Swedes, who are among the happiest people on earth. In Sweden, daily multiple 15-minute Fika breaks are a given and during that time no work is discussed, no one checks their cellphones and everyone talks to each other as friends do—all while enjoying coffee and delicious baked goods. Compare that to the U.S. where in one survey, 80 million Americans admitted that they didn’t have a single friend and loneliness is considered just as bad for health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Fika Fix: How a New Take on the Coffee Break Can Cure the Loneliness Epidemic (PRNewsfoto/Emile Odback)


Émile says, “We want to make International Coffee Day a day that celebrates coffee and connection. On this coffee day, as we celebrate something so universally loved, what better way is there to show your enthusiasm than by buying somebody else a cup of coffee, or inviting somebody to share a Fika and a nice chat?”

Author Emile Odback 

Émile Odback is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara where he was one of the commencement speakers and was editor-in-chief of the university newspaper.

Émile and his mother Åsa founded a company together with the goal of inspiring people to connect and feel good.

Their new book Fika Fix: How a New Take on the Coffee Break Can Cure the Loneliness Epidemic is an important part of that effort. The 22-year-old is the author of the just-released book Fika Fix: How a New Take on the Coffee Break Can Cure the Loneliness Epidemic. 

The lighthearted book includes fun conversation starters and A to Z facts about coffee and was produced in association with his mother, Åsa, a former lawyer and university professor.

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