Six Phrases for the Swedish Café Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Living in Sweden, Swedish Language, Vocabulary

Last week we learned how to navigate our way through the ordering process at a café in Sweden. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to practice. If not, take a look back at Ordering at a Café in Swedish. If you’ve already got that down, let’s take a look at a few extra phrases that will help you navigate not just the ordering process, but also the café experience.

Even though you learned how to ask for sojamjölk last week, maybe you forgot to ask for soymilk. Or maybe you just really dislike soymilk. Luckily, Sweden has a lot of non-dairy options. If you just want the classic lactose-free milk, it’s a simple question:
Har ni laktosfri mjölk?

Wonderful, you’ve got your coffee with lactose-free milk. Now it’s time to get to work. Maybe send some emails to your friends back home bragging (how very un-Swedish of you) about your ability to order coffee in a Swedish café. But to do that you need some internet. Most cafés in Sweden are equipped with some sort of wifi. Either completely free or available to customers. Before heading off to search for a seat, ask the barista about the wifi. Start off by saying:
Har ni Wi-Fi?

You’ve just asked the most important question of all. Do you have wifi? If they say yes (and they most likely will) ask a follow-up question about the password:
Vad är lösenordet? Or: Vad har ni för lösenord?

Actually, that might be the most important question of all. What’s the password? Depending on the place, you could end up having to remember a tough word, a string of numbers and letters, or something obvious, like the name of the café. Either way, it can be tough in a different language. If you don’t trust yourself to remember, ask the barista:
Kan du skriva ner lösenordet? Can you write down the password?

Now that you have your coffee with lactose-free milk and a wifi password, you’re ready to find a place to sit. You’ll often find empty seats next to people on couches or at communal tables. But sometimes it’s hard to tell if that backpack on the couch is saving the seat for someone, or if it’s just because the person in the seat next to it has spread their stuff out everywhere. Best way to find out? Ask them. If you want the seat, go ahead and start with:
Ursäkta, är det ledigt här?

That means, excuse me, is this seat taken? Or literally, excuse me, is it unoccupied here? The answer will usually be pretty simple. Ja or nej. Listen carefully. Ja means have a seat!

Finally, you’ve finished your coffee and had a glass of water to boot. You need to pee. It happens. If you can’t find the sign labeled toalett, try to find an employee and ask them:
Ursäkta, var är toan? Or: Ursäkta, var är toaletten?

After an afternoon in the café and all this Swedish, it’s time to head home. If you’re feeling friendly, give a nice little wave to the staff and say tack and hej då!

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. Constanze:

    Hej, Marcus! I’m Constanze from the German blog. I was browsing the other language blogs to get inspiration for my own posts, and I absolutely loved this one!! I’m working on a similar post for the German blog, and just want to thank you for inspiring me. 🙂
    Tak!! Keep up the good work!
    Constanze x

    • Marcus Cederström:

      @Constanze That’s awesome to hear, glad it was inspirational!

  2. Hunter:

    Look i see you have here really well thought informative articles and it pains you dont have many comments. I wish it would change 🙂
    Im from Poland and i have a friend with whom i talk a lot ( in english) Guy is swedish and to tell you the truth id love to talk with him in his native tonque.
    Can you give me links to some basic articles that would help me at the start of my journey with this language?
    Oh and may i ask, whats your native language?

    All the best

  3. Marcus Cederström:

    There are a lot of great links here on the blog where you can start learning Swedish, so definitely check them out!

  4. fazli:

    Hei !
    i came here in Sweden for like 6 months ago and im still having difficulties to learn propositioner “på” and “i” . The thing is that sometimeS it works if u think like “på” ON in english and i like IN but there are still cases when i dont understand like på dagis or på restaurang . anyway im just asking i’ll be thankful if u have any “förklaring” .