Richard did not believe me, when I described the coffee habits of Swedes. Oh, ye of little faith, always trust the natives!
When I was Bureau Chief for a Venture Capital magazine out of Silicon Valley, one of our Board members was headed to Sweden to attend a conference on immaterial patent law. He had not previously visited my fair native country, so I thought a heads up would be in order.
Regarding coffee, I told him, ‘you will have coffee available on your hotel’s breakfast buffé.’ And Richard’s like ‘Well, naturally!’
I added ‘But beware the coffee pot with the orange handle is not Sanka, it’s just a second pot.’
That’s when I could sense the hesitance creep in, and he expressed some doubt that this was really the strange habit of the North – orange handle but no de-caf, hmmm. ‘Really???’
‘Yes, really. Swedes don’t drink de-caf. If they don’t want the caffein, they’ll drink something else, like beer, or water.’
I proceeded to inform him, just to be prepared, of the various coffee breaks:
You might have coffee with breakfast, but around 10 or 10.30 am there’s a mid-morning coffee break. Then there will be coffee served to top off the lunch, and then there is the mid-afternoon coffee break around 2.30 pm. And then, of course, there will be coffee served after dinner.
Richard seemed at first startled at this information, but soon a radiant smile spread and the furrowed brow smoothed out. ‘Hahaha, you can’t fool me!’ he chuckled.
‘Have a nice trip’ I said. ‘The coffee will all be Columbian.’
A week and a half later, Richard is safely back in California, no doubt all coffeed out, and calls me. Totally astonished. ‘It’s true! You were right (of course I was right, I thought, but did not out of politeness utter)! The Swedes do really drink coffee all the time, and it was strong coffee, even for breakfast! Amazing, I’d never have thought’ and on and on he went describing his cultural nice-kind of chock experience.
He might have also mentioned how the conference went, but I’m not sure.