Danish, Norwegian, Swedish: arbeidskaffe

serbianfan

Senior Member
British English
What does "arbeidskaffe" (arbejdskaffe, arbetskaffe) mean to you? Or have you never heard/used the term? To me it doesn't necessarily just mean "coffee drunk at work" but it also has the connotation of "maybe not very good quality coffee, but at least it wakes me up, so I can do my work properly". There are some hits for "arbeidskaffe" on Google, but it's not always quite clear whether the meaning also includes the connotation. But I found a clearer reference to the quality aspect when searching for "arbejdskaffe", in fact there's a whole article about coffee at work there, if anyone's interested: "Arbejdskraft og arbejdskaffe er tæt forbundne på de fleste arbejdspladser. Den ofte tvivlsomme kvalitet til trods har kontorkaffen haft en afgørende social betydning på arbejdspladsen".
 
  • MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I think it just means coffee had at work to me. Yes, I agree it can imply poorer quality, but surely that also depends on where you are. Here in the US it would be pretty terrible quality generally speaking. In Sweden that lower quality would be higher I bet.

    It seems to be an uncommon enough expression that I'd expect some variation in how it's used. The article you found makes sense to me and also points to the social aspect of it which connects it with the Nordic concept of "fika". Typically we'd have coffee and possibly something sweet during our "fikapaus".
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    In Swedish it would be "jobbkaffe". I've worked in the healthcare sector all my life, and there have always being a morning and an afternoon "fika" break with coffee (or tea). At some places the coffee have been free, at others you paid a small sum each month. In most places I have worked it has been ordinary drip coffee (made in a "kaffebryggare"), and depending on who put on the coffee, the taste/strength could vary. In other places it's been these kinds of coffee automates Selecta Dubbelmjölksih .
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    In Swedish it would be "jobbkaffe".
    Yes, I see there are far more hits for "jobbkaffe" than "arbetskaffe", and some seem to suggest inferior quality. Of course, the difference in quality between your "kontorkaffe" and coffee you can get elsewhere is even greater now than 20-30 years ago, when the average Scandinavian had never heard the words "cappuccino", "latte" or "espresso" :)
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    the difference in quality between your "kontorkaffe" and coffee you can get elsewhere is even greater now than 20-30 years ago, when the average Scandinavian had never heard the words "cappuccino", "latte" or "espresso" :)

    I'm going to assume the last part was a joke.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I am not familiar with "arbeidskaffe" in Norwegian. I have heard "kontorkaffe", but that usually means something like coffee that has been left on the warming plate of the coffee machine for 3-4 hours.

    We don't really have the Swedish "fika" tradition in Norway. I don't even think there is a Norwegian word for it. There is "kaffepause", but that is often coffee without anything to eat.

    20-30 years ago, when the average Scandinavian had never heard the words "cappuccino", "latte" or "espresso" :)
    I'm going to assume the last part was a joke.

    Not necessarily a joke. Well, we had heard about "espresso", but where could you buy it? Coffee at cafés was usually coffee that had been left on the warming plate of the coffee machine for 3-4 hours. There were usually just two options: with cream (preferred by older people) and without cream (preferred by younger people).

    I lived in Seattle for six months in 1998. It is easy to criticize Starbucks today, but it was a great experience for me then. I discovered a whole new world of coffee. And when I got back to Oslo, I saw that something had happened while I was away: the new coffee culture had finally reached Norway!
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I just don't think of those Italian versions of coffee to be superior to the coffee I grew up with. When well made it's on par.

    I find that good cafes back home won't let a pot sit for hours. And a lot of the time I also found that the coffee was much higher quality to begin with (than the US) and that enough people took part in that culture that the pot was frequently 'recycled'.

    So to me Italian coffee wasn't bad, just different. And US coffee to me was no bueno when I moved there. To me it's always too bitter. There's something more dry (or whatever - I'm not good at finding words for this) about good coffee.. or something..
     
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