Coffee breaks are a necessary part of a workday. For most people, that fifteen-minute break can actually be a much-needed sanity saver.
Truth is, coffee breaks are not only a breather. It’s more than that.
Coffee breaks have tons of benefits including a better performance at work, better focus, and even better health.
Coffee Breaks Around the Globe
If there’s one thing that brings people together, it’s food and coffee.
This quick break to relax and recharge has become a part of cultures around the globe even before cafes became popular.
Here are some coffee break traditions from all over the globe.
Buna Tetu - Ethiopia
There’s an Ethiopian saying called buna dabo naw which means ‘coffee is our bread’. That’s how much Ethiopians love their coffee.
Ethiopia is said to be the birthplace of coffee.
As the story goes, coffee was found by a herder who saw his goats eat the beans from a shrub. Curiosity got the best of him and he tried the beans himself.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Ethiopians love their coffee so much that they’ve created a ceremony around it.
Buna Tetu, meaning “drink coffee”, is an Ethiopian coffee ceremony that takes almost three hours to prepare.
The lady of the house prepares the coffee from roasting, grinding, and steeping. The youngest girl serves the elderly.
See how it's done here.
Each guest gets to drink up to three cups of coffee, each one less stronger as the ceremony progresses.
And guess what, it happens three times a day! Ethiopians even credit this ceremony as essential to living long lives.
Fika - Sweden
Fika is a coffee break time tradition in Sweden that is roughly translated as a coffee and cake break.
For the Swedes, fika is more than just coffee. It’s a ritual, a necessary part of everyday life where you stop and share a cup of coffee with friends and family.
It emphasizes more on the companionship shared instead of the food and drinks. It’s for socializing and enjoying conversations.
But if they serve food, they make sure it’s scrumptious and easy on the eyes.
Cinnamon rolls are the most iconic of all the Fika food choices. These sweet treats are available everywhere in Sweden.
Chocolate balls, almond cakes, biscuits, and pastries are also considered the best companions of coffee during Fika.
It’s also been proven to improve productivity and mental health. That’s why Swedes make sure to keep this tradition alive.
Want to get awesome recipes to make on your coffee break? Check out this post from Good to Know.
Merienda - Latin America
Merienda is a common practice in Latin America, specifically in Argentina. But unlike the light snacks enjoyed during tea time, merienda favorites are heavier.
It’s meant to help workers survive their work until dinner, which is usually served between 10 PM and midnight.
Derived from the word mereō, merienda means to deserve or win. Its roots come from southern Europe.
Coffee, milk, and tea are usually paired with snacks. But in Argentina, mate is king.
Yerba mate dates back from pre-Columbian times where the Guarani people in Paraguay cultivated the plants.
Its dried leaves and twigs are brewed and the tea drank as a wellness beverage.
Mate is said to have the taste of tea and the effects of coffee, revitalizing and refreshing the drinker after a long day.
Traditional meriendas usually include cafe con leche and medialunas, croissants either made of lard or butter.
Another combination is mate and facturas, sweet pastries filled with dulce de leche, custard, or quince jam.
Kids especially love licuado de banana in the summer, a drink made from bananas turned into smoothies.
Minindal - Philippines
Filipinos love to eat. In fact, Filipinos can eat a total of six meals in a day.
And coffee is a huge part of snack time. Filipinos even created specific sweets and snacks to pair it with coffee.
Some of these snacks include rice cakes that are either steamed, baked, or cooked in a combination of milk, coconut milk, and sugar.
Popular afternoon snacks include pansit bihon, a stirfried noodle dish with chicken and vegetables.
Fried banana fritters called turon are also crowd favorites, as well as the sweet and savory seasonal treat, bibingka.
Nowadays, coffee breaks are accompanied with cakes, bread, and other pastries. But it still keeps the Filipino’s love for food and great company alive.
Here’s a list of favorite Filipino snacks to pair with your coffee.
5 Productive Ideas You Can Do on your Coffee Break
Cultures from around the globe understand the need for coffee breaks.
Even huge brands like Volvo acknowledge how beneficial breaks are for employees.
But as you know, every now and then you’d want to find some alone time with yourself to rest and relax.
So here are five things you can do for yourself while on your 15-minute coffee break.
1. Learn a new language
Thanks to technology, learning a new language is now as easy as 123. There are now tons of apps that you can download on your phone and use at your own pace.
Here are some of the best ones out there:
These apps have gamified language learning, so it’s easier to remember and much more fun.
Check out the complete list of language apps from Lingualift.
2. Read a book
Reading has tons of benefits. And you don’t need to spend hours in a day to maximize those benefits.
Don’t have a book in mind? Try Blinkist.
Choose from over 3,000 available titles in their library which gets updated every month.
Blinkist has a wide array of topics you can choose from.
Interested in personal development? Want to learn how to be a better parent? Starting a new business?
It’s all in there.
3. Write a quick story.
Let your creative juices flow and do freewriting for 15 minutes.
What benefits will you be getting?
It helps you become a better writer. It teaches you to develop routine and creativity.
It also helps you uncover hidden fears and anxieties. It also helps you value the process of writing.
Writing is great therapy, and you don’t need much time to do it.
Try it and you’ll be surprised by the results.
4. Do some stretching
Recent studies show that sitting is more deadly than smoking.
Sitting for long hours has shown to increase potential threats to your health, including Type 2 Diabetes, different types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and back pain.
Stretching at work helps reduce fatigue, prevent muscle strain injuries, improve posture, and also decreases your chances of getting sick.
Check out these easy desktop stretches from Bupa.co.
5. Take a power nap
Taking quick naps have been known to increase productivity and improve the quality of work.
In Japan, it’s an honor for one to sleep on the job. They even call it inemuri.
Napping helps reduce stress and improve one’s mood. It also improves focus and alertness.
It also helps improve memory and increases one’s ability to learn.
So go ahead and take that nap. Your boss will thank you for it.
Coffee breaks are as important as work itself. And choosing what coffee you’ll take can also have a great effect on your mood and overall productivity.
So why don’t you try something new?
Culture Blends Coffee has created three new blends that are sure to make your coffee breaks more exciting.
Try our Italian Creamy White Coffee for that creamy, coffee taste.
Wake up your senses with our American 3-in-1 Latte.
Craving for Mocha? Try our Belgian Choco Delight.
Check out Culture Blends Coffee in your nearest convenience store and supermarkets for your next coffee break.