I don't know how familiar you are with the LA Galaxy team or even soccer in general, but you don't need to be an avid sports follower to appreciate these faces:
(Yes - they are #MugsUp-ing)
Alright, enough gawking ladies - professional soccer players are real people too; real people who need their coffee, their cup of joe, their Fika.
Wait - their what? We'll get to that in a bit. But first let's set the scene.
It was another morning of intense training under the Los Angeles sun. They’ve been faring well in the Western conference and the season was gaining momentum. But now, with the sweaty, high intensity, net-aiming morning drills behind them, it was time to unwind - it was time for Fika.
Fika, pronounced “Fee-Kuh” is a Swedish term, more of a ritual, that was brought across the Atlantic to a tight-knit coffee-lovin group on the team.
"Fika is what we are doing right now," explains Baggio.
"When I was playing in Sweden - I learned about their coffee culture. And Fika is like a coffee 'siesta' and you can have a few of them in the day," says Baggio.
Fika is a concept among the Swedish culture where you gather to have coffee, possibly with some pastries or even drink tea. After a little research, it appears the term "Fika" derives from a Swedish back slang in the 19th century where syllables were reversed. In this case, when the syllables in the word "Kaffi" (an earlier version of the Swedish word "Kaffe" or "coffee") are reversed it becomes "Fika."
Two Guns Espresso is a smaller shop tucked on a corner of a less busier area in Manhattan, and is the team's favorite spot.
"We like it because it's away from all the business of the beach," says Tommy. "We like to sit here for an hour, maybe two, and just...kill time."
And although Two Guns may be just another hangout spot, it really opened them up to the specialty coffee world.
"We both weren’t really into coffee and before we didn't know if it was bad or good coffee, but now," he laughs, "I can’t drink Starbucks."
So, what is his go-to drink now?
"I first began with the Americanos, but the Flat Whites here are awesome."
Two Guns Espresso is owned by Australians, Andrew "Stan" Stanisich and Craig Oram, and so it's no surprise that the Aussie-born signature Flat White is a crowd favorite.
All of their espresso-based drinks are made with triple shot ristrettos and Straus' barista-grade organic milk. Their beans hail from Caffe Vita (Seattle based) and their pastries are from local bakeries.
(Their pastries were in fact amazing and I am without proof because they were guzzled down so fast. #MugsUp to Baggio for making the move on ordering the treats. However, 'til this day I am upset that I didn't get to order their famous Stan-sandwhich because they stop selling food items at 3 - Don't say I didn't warn you. )
And so, I had to ask the boys a question, from one fellow coffee addict to another, how bad is the addiction?
"You know, I don't see coffee as a necessity," says Baggio (as I hold in my gasp).
"It's more of a hobby." (Okay, I can get on board with that.)
"For me, I'll have a coffee at the beginning of the week but it will fade out towards the end [of the week]," says Tommy.
I think we can all agree that Mondays can be our coffee trigger (Insert Two Guns pun here folks.)
Tommy has been exploring the L.A. coffee scene and has a couple of favorites: G&B Coffee in Los Angeles and Gjusta Coffee, Venice.
(You can expect those to appear on the blog soon!)
By the time our multiple orders of capps and flat whites had dwindled to a sad puddle, and the remnants of these peanut-butter, chocolatey-something-goodness bars were nothing but crumbs, a couple hours had passed.
I didn't even know it, but I participate in Fika every day and am pretty good at it. I'm thinking Fika t-shirts are in order. Seriously.
I'll get back to you on that one.
But until next time,
Mugs Up & Fika On,
The Coffee Nomad