hugos kaffe: a funky café in uppsala with an asheville vibe (a throwback to my “fika girl” days)

back in my asheville days, i was known as “the fika girl“.

this is all because i decided to do a little blog project, which then turned into a little freelance gig with a local, independent newspaper. pretty much a dream come true. i began by deciding to visit 40 different cafés in asheville in 40 days. yes, there are that many cafés in asheville – even more, actually. i started a blog about it, and i wrote a post after each daily visit. my goal was three-fold: 1) to get to know asheville again + to find my new, favorite coffehouses. 2) to bring the swedish concept of fika (an experience of drinking coffee, usually with something sweet to eat. a time to enjoy an intentional cup of coffee with friends, family, or colleagues. an important social part of everyday swedish culture) to asheville. 3) to see how spending 40 days in coffeehouses sipping coffee might change me.

well, 40 days in 40 coffeehouses led to some amazing insights and opportunities. not only did i meet my three goals mentioned above, but i got that freelance job out of it – a chance to write a column called “the fika files” in the mountain xpress, i met tons of amazing people, and i became an official coffee snob. i got to interview café owners, coffee roasters, and write articles about coffee events. i was the go-to person about coffee for a while in asheville, even snagging the nickname “the fika girl”.


i also started a meetup group called “asheville fika“. as people began to read my fika blog, they began to question me if they could meet with me. so, i decided to start publicising an open meeting that would meet at a different café every week from 11:30-1:30, during the lunch hour. my group met every single wednesday, all over asheville, from november 2013 until i left in janauary 2015. actually, they are still meeting! i passed it on to another leader. during these meetings, we simply sat and talked and drank coffee. no agenda. no pressure. no commitments. pure, simple, open community. and we grew from about 4-5 people every week to having over 20 every week. now, mind you, there are actually over 200 people who are now part of this group. not everyone comes every single week, of course, so there are always some regulars and some new people at every single fika meeting.

this was an amazing experience, and i have made some very good friends thanks to the fika group. i cannot wait to meet up with them again the next time i am back in asheville!

in a nutshell, coffee was a huge, huge part of my life in asheville. and my passion for coffee blossomed as i wrote about it, researched it, and met people in the coffee business, or simply chatted with other coffee lovers. it became a spiritual practice for me – sitting down and enjoying coffee with someone. opening doors and possibilities and listening stories of people following their dreams, discovering who they are, and living their passion. everything coffee-related became a chance to connect with others by taking the time to intentionally slow down and, well, connect.


svartbãcksgatan: a street in uppsala | photo taken in february

now that i am back in sweden, the motherland of fika, i feel very differently about coffee. i realize that, in asheville, i made the transition from simply being a coffee lover to being someone who truly wishes to learn + share more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into coffee. i find myself wanting to teach people about coffee beans, roasting, making good cups of coffee. and, of course, i want to fill my home with all of the coffee gadgets i can. coffee has truly become a craft, like the craft beer industry in the states, and i think that it is amazing that the coffee culture is growing into a mindful, earth-friendly art form.

speaking of craft coffee, i have also acquired a passion for supporting local, independent coffeehouses and cafés – those seeking to not only provide customers with a good cup of coffee, but those who serve their customers with a purpose. there is nothing like discovering a small, local business, with an owner who absolutely loves what he or she does. and in the coffee business, it is usually not only a love of coffee for them, but also a love for connecting with people as well.

now that i live in uppsala, sweden, i want to seek out these places here. i want to find the people who burn for their unique, independent place in the business world. those people who not only want to turn a profit, but who want to make a difference in the community as well. because, in my opinion, the best businesses are those that have a mission or a vision to not only make their business successful, but to make their community successful as well. it’s all about working together. that’s the asheville, north carolina way. and i believe that there are plenty of places in uppsala that have the same philosophy.


and guess what? i found one of those places.

i have decided not to do a 40 days of fika: uppsala edition right now. but, i have been searching and trying out difference cafés + coffeehouses, looking for the ones with soul. and, boy have i found one.

hugos kaffe (hugo’s coffee) is a tiny, funky, vintage-inspired coffeeshop on what i have dubbed my favorite street/block in uppsala: svartbäcksgatan. the café called to me the very first time i walked by it. i knew it was not uptight, not fancy, not pretentious, not a like-everything-else kind of place (and swedish cafés can be all of those things). this place had its own soul. it’s own character. it was friendly + relaxed. charming + funky. interested in local, organic, and making a difference. and i got all of that just by passing it.

needless to say, i have been in multiple times now. and i every time i enter, i feel as if i am transported back to asheville. the vibe is incredible. and the owner, well, all of those descriptions above ring true for him as well. this place feels like home to me. and, not home in some nostalgic way (ok, a little bit of nostalgia), but home (asheville) in a unique, independent, local-loving, fair-trade dealing, community-supporting, artsy, eclectic kind of way. hugos kaffe possess all of the things that are good about the coffee community of asheville and other like-minded cities around the world.





this poster says that if you bring you own mug, you get your coffee for half price, and that it’s all about thinking green. 

for these kinds of coffeehouses, it’s all about creating a better community, making a difference in the world, and serving good coffee in their own unique way. and, after visiting cafés like that, i do not want to go into places that are stale, similar to each other, and do not think so much about what they are doing. i always seek out a place that creates a coffee culture.

so, coffee lovers, if you live in uppsala or visit uppsala, then by all means visit hugos kaffe! i promise you that you will feel welcomed + cared for, and you can sip on your coffee with the knowledge that your cup is making a difference in the lives of the coffee farmers whose beans fill your cup, the lives of the coffee roasters down in malmö + in your own community.

and, who knows, perhaps i will start a new meetup group here in uppsala?! perhaps we will meet at hugos once a week?! stay tuned. in the meantime, contact me and let’s fika!

onwards + upwards! xox

Hugos Kaffe | Svartbäcksgatan 21 | 753 32 Uppsala, Sweden |

map hugos kaffe* this post is not sponsored

fika dreams do come true.


you know, 2013 was a year of making dreams come true. but, more of that later when i do a few posts on looking back through the year. one of the dreams, though, is a recurring dream… it happens over and over again. and, because all of y’all have been so supportive and interested in following my dream of writing, i thought i’d share with you the next little opportunity in that dream.

so far, i have had the opportunity to write 3 fika articles and 1 food article for the mountain xpress (a grassroots independent newspaper in asheville focusing on art, culture, & local news). and i get paid for it!  you know, i even get to keep writing for them into the new year…. my articles are an ongoing series in the paper. i guess you could say i have a beat, or a column. woo hoo!

my latest article, which was published today, was another opportunity to meet an inspiring person and share my experience at one of my new favorite cafes, filo (fee-lo). to get to enjoy fika and write about my ponderings, reflections, and experiences is humbling, and so much fun. all i want to do is inspire and encourage people to slow down in their face-paced, american lives so that they will be able to focus for a little bit on the things that are truly important in life… relationships, spirituality, connections, and peace. i want the idea of fika to spread, because i think it is such an important part of life.

there is something else that i am not sure that i have shared with y’all very much. you know, the fika blog and my articles in the paper have led people to begin to ask if it  would be possible to set up a fika group  – a time for people to get together, enjoy coffee, conversation, and meet new friends.

so, i went to the online website called “meet up” and created a fika group called “asheville fika”. and do you know what has happened? there are 43 people who have become members of this group!! 43 people in asheville who want to meet each other and sip coffee together. sooooo cool. and you know what, we’ve done just that! every wednesday for the past 5 weeks i have met with anywhere from 4 to 13 people, some new each week and some who have now become regulars. it’s freaking amazing! interestingly, almost every single person who has come to the fikas has been someone who is new to asheville, having just moved in the past few months, which makes for even more crazy awesome stories to listen to.

so, my writing keeps rolling on, and now fika is actually spreading and becoming part of peoples’ lives in asheville. what more could i ask for involving fika?!

anyway, i’d love for you to check out my latest article and let me know what you think. and then, if you like, give it a try (for all you non-swedes out there). have an intentional fika with yourself or someone else. and, if you are a swede, then know that this little american girl is fika-ing her heart out here in the states, doing everything she can to spread the love of this powerful, important part of swedish society.

now, grab that cup of coffee and click on the photo below to read my article. it’s time to fika!


to read my article in the newspaper click here or on the photo above.

peace & love. xx

this is what saturdays are made for.

after enjoying every single moment of being in the urban jungle of asheville, it is time. time to head away from the city and out into the wilderness of the surrounding mountains. time to ditch the school books and job stress, and get real. did you know that the wilderness is literally only about 15 minutes by car from our apartment?! can you imagine how excited that makes me?!


so typical asheville. so urban. so funky. so much to love.


a faaaaabulously funky cafe i visited yesterday. i fell in love.


this secret, hidden garden spot i stumbled upon yesterday inspired me to make today a day in the woods.

so, lina and i are gonna pack our cooler, grab a blanket and chairs, swing our cameras around our necks, and have ourselves an adventure. time to unplug. get away. and commune with the beauty of the natural world.


lina getting some blogging done this morning before we head out. a perfect morning.

time to feel our souls and soak up the mountain air. 

here’s to saturdays all around the world. peace & love.



tuesday made me smile.

morning coffee with my love.

morning coffee with my love.

seeing how much it had snowed overnight.

look how much it had snowed overnight!

my cozy little work corner today.

my cozy little work corner today.

snow + tree = beautiful, heavy branches looking like they're covered with white blankets.

snow + tree = beautiful, heavy branches looking like they’re covered with white blankets.

a warm scarf & good music playing through my funky headphones as i walked home.

a warm scarf & good music playing through my funky headphones as i walked home.

my love's smile when i brought her flowers.

my love’s smile when i brought her flowers.

did something make you smile today? what was it?

wishing you a peaceful and smile-filled tomorrow.

see you again soon, stockholm.

i read somewhere today that this past weekend was the last one before all of the hectic crazy holiday activities begin. what?! could that be true? well, i took a look at my calendar, and considering this week is thanksgiving in the states, and since christmas markets are beginning to pop up here in sweden, i guess it’s true. the season will be in full swing come this weekend. wow. it’s hard to believe… and i cannot really express how excited i am. can you see the big grin on my face?

but, since the craziness is right around the corner and this weekend was the last non-holiday weekend in 2012, i am super glad i had the chance to spend it in stockholm. a great way to end the “regular” weekends of 2012. we were quite busy, and at the same time took it easy. at least it feels that way to me. so, here come some snapshots i snagged while in sweden’s capital city.


i love me some public transportation. a beautiful sunset at 3:30 from the bus to stockholm and the central subway station at 5pm. crazy packed with people.

our cozy hotel room for the first night. i love staying in hotels.

friday morning, bright & early, my love got to work on the business she had to take care of.


and while she worked away, i hung out at a nearby mall, taking in the christmas lights & enjoying a chai latte. tough stuff, i know.


then, it was back to the subway & on to another part of the city to meet up with our friend at her place, who was hosting us for the rest of the weekend. and after settling in & eating dinner… downtown stockholm. aka “gamla stan”/”old town”.


while in the old town, we went to a cellar down below all the old buildings to see our friends play a gig. they are from the same city we are from, and they just happened to have a gig that night in stockholm. crazy timing, huh? it was a cozy evening of music, wine, & good company.

my love onstage with blackbyrd (led by our dear friend, fredrik). watching my love make one of her dreams come true. i am so proud! ♥


after a super good night’s sleep, we had a cozy breakfast at home and then headed back out. the subway was full every single time we were on it, so it was all about standing, holding on, & trying not to fall down. hehe.



we shopped & walked. and walked & shopped. and then, tired & hungry, we found a cozy, crazy bagel bakery/cafe decorated like an actual living room from the 70s/80s. it was the perfect place to stop, rest, & refuel on some yummy bagels. a veggie bagel with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, & mozzarella and a nutella/peanut butter bagel were on tap for lina & me. delish.


our wonderful friend acted as a guide all weekend long, and after the shopping was all done, we headed to a tasty tapas restaurant for dinner in Vasa Stan, checked out a local hippie shop (reminded me so much of asheville!), and then found a funky tiki bar in a cellar. yes, there are cellars everywhere in stockholm. there’s a lot happening underground. hehe. cheers!


sunday morning, we took a walk in the cold, gray, fresh air. a completely typical november day here in sweden. still, it was beautiful. and a little stop at a cafe for some coffee upped the coziness factor big time.


and then, it was time to board the subway one more time before climbing onboard the bus for a cozy ride back home.

goodbye, stockholm. you did not disappoint. see you in a month when we leave for the states!


autumn in everything.

it’s thursday night and my weekend has begun! i have the next 3 days off & not that much planned. feels really, really good. especially after last weekend; which was good, but over-the-top busy. i think i pretty much lived at the church. so, besides a little meeting tomorrow, everything else i do over the weekend has not even been planned yet. hmm… what are we gonna get into?!

i’m pretty sure it will involve calm, cozy moments with each other. the best thing about this season is the coziness, ya know. it’s dark pretty early here in sweden. it’s been chilly & rainy every day. and i’m not really complaining about it at all because all i wanna do is hunker down at home & just be. soak up the autumn all around.

i thought i’d share a few pictures of the past few autumn days in my corner of the world…


our fall wreath is now hanging on our door. funky & natural. love it.

on monday we went to a pub to celebrate our friend’s birthday. cooozy.

i got a haircut. yay.

my love brought me flowers. just because.

we set our alarm for 3am & watched the presidential debate live. crazy girls. yep.

a new, funky cafe. gonna visit here often from now on.

inside the cafe. soooo cozy.listening to live music on a wednesday night. carpe diem, right?

no words. just beauty.

popcorn nights with my love.

a fall sunset in norrköping

“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”
― Hal Borland

hope your autumn days have been as calm and cozy as possible. wishing you days of golden leaves, flickering candles, and  snuggly blankets.


i’ll pencil you in.

one down and two to go.

days of work, that is. tonight i met with the youth. it went well, though many of them were out of town/busy. still the ones that were there did a great job. we had some really good discussions, and i gave then a chance to teach me some. that actually worked out really well. and, to close, we talked about malala, the girl from pakistan. i really enjoyed having a smaller group tonight, actually. it’ so much easier to give personal attention, and really get into things with them when there are just a few.

the pie i baked tonight for tomorrow’s cafe.

tomorrow morning (more bright & early than i would like) i meet with the youth again. we are gonna work with some of the older adults in our cafe. so, it’ll be pretty intense. preparing desserts, sandwiches, being really social. but, it’s cozy. people from off the street, elderly people who don’t really have much to do, and whoever walks by & feels like a warm cup of coffee will come in and sit around the candlelit tables. tomorrow, we are there to serve. and i’m sure that i’ll have stories to tell.

and then, sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening, i will finish my sermon. yes, on sunday, i am going to preach again. yep. that’s the third time in less than 3 months. crazy. it’s such a long process to write a message of hope – and even longer to write it in swedish. but, it is always a great process for me, and it involves one of my favorite things… writing. so, of course, it’s right up my alley. and having a chance to deliver it, in person… to see the public, watch their reactions, feel their energy as i speak. it’s overwhelmingly moving. geez. i never thought i’d say something like that, never thought i’d love standing in public, speaking to a crowd of people. but, speaking about love, hope, & peace… wow. what an honor. so. much. fun.

so, i’m booked this weekend. work. work. and more work. and while i’m so looking forward to crashing on sunday afternoon, with nothing else to do & no more responsibilities for a day or 2, i know that the experiences of the weekend will give me so much.

it’s all about living in the moment. but i’ll be sure to pencil you in, if for even just a few minutes.

goodnight, my friends. peace.

shalom. fred. salaam. paix.

on this rainy friday afternoon i’m hanging out in a cafe, sipping a mocha latte, and thinking about peace.

did you know that today is the international day of peace? yep. it is.

after a letter campaign to the united nations, one man convinced the un to declare september 21 as an international day of peace. and by this, he did not mean just a day of peace, but he meant that all fighting and violence all over the world should cease. for at least one day the citizens of the world should lay down their arms, declare a ceasefire, and dream of a world where peace is the way. naive & dreamy, you say? perhaps. but, if we don’t try, then we’re cheating our world & each other, i think. of course i can’t control what any one else does, but i can do what i can do in my life to promote peace, non-violence, & acceptance. i can speak out. educate. and practice what i preach. and if what i say, write, do, think, feel, or show affects just one person, then perhaps i am paying peace forward. and perhaps that one person i may have affected will pay the peace forward too. it’s gotta start somewhere. why not start with myself?

when i speak of peace, i speak of it in 2 different ways. inner peace & peace among one another. but, i believe that it’s all connected. we can’t have one without the other. and, i truly believe that peace in the world begins with peace within our selves. i could probably write forever about that. but, instead of focusing on inner peace today, i’m thinking about peace as harmony among each other. peace, as non-violence… as a world that lays down its weapons and instead seeks to find ways to build bridges, have open communication, understand each other, accept differences, and thrive in the beautiful diversity that makes up the human race.

oh how i dream of a world that lives in peace. a world where there are no discriminatory films attacking and poking fun at other religions. a world where, when one is discriminated against, one does not respond with violence, but with his or her voice. a world where people fight for their equality & beliefs, but they fight with love & education instead of guns & closed-minds.

i believe a world of peace is possible. i believe that all we have to do is choose it for ourselves, and then make it a reality in our lives. imagine what the world would look like if more & more of us decided to live in peace & harmony.

just imagine….

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
Black Elk

“If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.”
Thomas Merton

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
John Muir

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
― Jimi Hendrix

“Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing – right in the hub of the wheel – not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness – that’s your heart. That’s where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you’ll always find peace.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.”
― Siddhārtha Gautama

“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
― George Carlin

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”
― Virginia Woolf

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

sending you light & love. and of course, peace.

i can feel it in the air.

it’s unusually warm today. like 20/21 celsius or 72ish fahrenheit. and really weird out. sunny, stormy, damp, rainy, humid. like something’s coming. like a change is gonna come. but, i guess changes actually are coming, aren’t they?

it feels like today is the last day of warm weather. i can feel it in my bones. today’s warmth is the last hurrah, the last day to walk without a jacket. after this, fall is settling in. for good. here in sweden, we’ve been seeing & feeling the beginnings of the changes. the wind has turned chilly, and the nights have been down right cold sometimes. the skies have been deep blue, and the tips of the leaves are beginning their colorful changes. not much, but just a tiny bit – like they’ve been dipped into paint. and, of course, the days of light are fading into darkness.

and i am so ready for this change. i absolutely love this season. true, the days are noticeably shorter. gone is the season where there is never a need to turn on a light at home. gone are the sunsets at midnight. now, the lights come on about 6:30 or 7 pm. now, the afternoon sun casts its long shadows before dinnertime. still, i am ready.

ready to buy candles. ready to pull out my blankets & curl up every night under them. ready to make hot chocolate. ready to hunt for pumpkins. ready for gloves, scarves, & boots. and ready to begin to gather my thoughts and prepare for the long season of swedish hibernation. cozy, cozy nights of peace & quiet. a time where life speeds back up in some ways (back to work & all that), and yet slows down at the same time. at least for me. i may be busy, but i slow my pace. i relax in the light of warm candles glowing. i smile as i stroll through the crunchy leaves, counting how many different colors & shades of red, golden, orange, & brown i see. in september, i begin my season of nesting.

and today, although it was warm outside, my love & i have left our  little apartment on the 4th floor and walked the few blocks downtown, to celebrate this changing of the seasons in one of our favorite cafes. computers in our bags, creativity on our brains, and chai latte steaming on our table… we are ushering in the season of fall for 2012.

so, go ahead… grab a blanket, make some tea & coffee, and light a candle. it’s time to get cozy.

wishing you comfy fall days ahead. peace.

photo a day august. week 3, comin’ up!

still lovin’ the photo a day challenge. really lovin’ it. so, without any further a due, i present to you….

this week’s pictures!


“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” ― Ansel Adams

peace & love, my friends.