For some people coffee is just a beverage which is drank either to keep you awake or warm, for some is just a way to spend time on a laid-back day, and for the Viennese…. is a life philosophy. Taste more about the Austrian culture, among imperial coffees and mouth-watering cakes!!!
It’s not just the fact that since November 10th, 2011 the Viennese Coffee Culture is listed as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” in the Austrian inventory of the “National Agency for the Intangible Cultural Heritage”, a part of UNESCO, that makes the Coffee Houses to look as important as the imperial heritage of the city for most of the Viennese. But also the fact that nowhere in the World, Coffee is considered a way of life like in Vienna. Where people gather to catch up with their friends and families latest news, where you can stay hours reading the newspapers almost like if you were in your own living room without interruption, or where neither loud music is played nor mobile phones are permitted. With palace-like bright lights; elegantly dressed service staff; wide salons and the coziest atmosphere you find in all Vienna, drinking coffee feels like being close to heaven, wrapped in the sweetest dreams a human could have ever imagined.
If you want to know more about a new culture, do it by trying its food and you will reach deep inside the local’s identity. With more than 30 kinds of coffee in a Viennese House and endless cake and chocolate types, just reading the menu will make your mouth water like the stream in the Niagara water falls. With a wide multiculturality, vibrant, exciting, and with a non-stop culture opportunities around the corner. This is a society living in a city which lives up to its imperial pedigree.
Coffee houses in Vienna have a century-long tradition. At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, coffee houses were used by artist, writers and painters as a place to recharge their imagination among the most exquisite aromas coming from the coffee machines and the sweetest temptations behind the counter . The history began in 1683, when Vienna was liberated of the Turks by the imperial troops. Historically the first coffee house was founded on 17th January 1685. By the year 1700 four other coffee houses were built in the city. “An authentic and traditional Viennese Coffee House must have these 5 characteristics at least, said Tomas Gerbeth, a violine bow maker.”They must not have been renovated in 30 years; they must have unfriendly service staff; unconfortable chairs; moving tables; and must have over 30 different kinds of coffee”.
Time has changed since the first coffee house was opened centuries ago. Influence from foreign coffee shops had increased among the new Viennese generations. In a world where borders are just imaginary,it is impossible not to surrender to the new age of fast-food and take-away coffee. Fortunately good things in life always are preserved. The Viennese Coffee Houses still have a long way to go and hopefully they will last long to share its memories with young coffee lovers. On my own experience, i had the most extraordinary service, i have been served the most adictive coffee taste and i have felt the warmest atmosphere in my years of travelling. I could almost feel i had the whole salon for myself and could make a little mental trip back home with each sip of my “kleiner brauner”. Still i couldn’t stop laughing when some regular customer, at cafe Landtmann, told me an old coffee houses’s joke in Vienna about a foreign who orders to the waiter a cappuchino, a latte machiato, a espresso, a caffe latte and a black coffee. The waiter takes the order walks away from the table towards the barista and tells him” 5 kaffe bitte”
The Grandeur of Cafe Sperl can be felt as soon as you cross the entrance and put a foot inside. Open in 1880 this is more than just a coffee house but an icon in the whole industry, not just in Vienna, nor Austria, but in whole Europe. Come in the morning of a regular week day and you will own the place for yourself. The yellow egg’s colour on its walls and ceilings invites to relaxation. Several architecture details and decoration shape the identity and personality of the place. On the menu are listed over 30 kinds of coffee, which is said to be a must to be considered an authentic and traditional Viennese Coffee House. Ask for its remarkable cheese cake and combine it with a good dosis of the classic verlängerter cafe.
Gumpendorferst. 11 – 1060 Vienna
Opera ticket seller
“Vienna is a very nice city to live in. The public transportation is very good and they are almost never late! ”
The Wiener Schnitzel here is just a revelation! With high ceilings traditionally painted, this is one of the Viennese favorites places to spend time on a laid-back day. Try the breeze-refreshing “Apfelsaft gespritz” if you want to have a break from coffee and tea.
Opened in 1876 Cafe Central has been a popular meeting point for leading personalities in the world of art, literature, politics and science such as Arthur Schnitzler, Sigmund Freud, Peter Altenberg and Leo Trotzki.
Corner Herrengasse/Strauchgasse - 1010 Vienna
Clockwise from top left: Elisabeth in Cafe Demel sorting out the daily pastry; Cafe Landtmann’s great cappucino; Cafe Landtmann’s little corner at Cafe Landtmann; Cafe Demel’s partry chef; Ready for lunch at Cafe Central; “Bitte keine Handy” Sign Cafe Sperl.
Hostess at cafe Landtmann
“Life is Vienna is not complicated and gives you a lot of opportunities to study”
Open in October of 1873 by Franz Landtmann, this is one of the most elegant and traditional Viennese Coffee Houses in the austrian capital. Carpeted wide Salons with red velvet on their floors will make you fly towards the paradise of flavours, where you will have to surrender to its irresistable pastry and glorious coffee. The Apfel Strudel melts in your mouth like ice-cream in a mid-summer day. With an uncomparable atmosphere, great service and friendly stuff, gets packed on weekends. Reserve in advance to get the most out of the sweet treasures that cafe Landtmann offers.
Some of the regular customers who have discover the pleasure of life in one of the cafe Landtmann’s tables are: Peter Altenberg, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Max Reinhardt, Marlene Dietrich, Romy Schneider, Burt Lancaster, Hans Moser, the Dutch Queen Juliane, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sir Paul Mc Cartney.
Universitätsring 4 - A-1010 Vienna
Employee at Cafe Sperl
“My favorite place in Vienna is Schönbrunn Palace. Vienna offers a lot of green places”
Step into this Cafe and you will be taking a small trip to the times of classic Vienna. Due its location in old town, tourist flock to the coffee tables, but you also find local people who has been enjoyed their cafe melange already for decades. The Pastry’s display is not as eye-catching as in other coffee houses but the offer and quality is one of the best in Vienna. With a more traditional concept, Cafe Griensteidl, stands out proud among the crowd and keeps on with the Viennese Coffee Houses’ Culture and Tradition. Order the Apple strudel with vanilla sauce !!! but be careful to have enough space for a second round!!!
Personalities such as Karl Kraus, Hermann Bahr, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Schnitzler, musicians such as Arnold Schoenberg, but also politicians such as Victor Adler and Theodor Herzl were once part of the regular customers list. The Café Griensteidl, opened in 1847 by a pharmacist named Heinrich Griensteidl became right away a meeting point in Vienna.
1010 Vienna, Michaelerplatz 2
Clockwise from top left: sign at Cafe Demel; Cafe Demel’s back stage; interior at Cafe Sperl; wall portrait anywhere in Cafe Sperl
Employee at Cafe Demel
“Vienna is a culture city with lots of activities for different interest”
“What would Vienna without the Hawelka what the Hawelka be without its guests? And what would the artists of our country be without this space to think and discuss, inspire and enjoy”
The fact that Andy Warhol’s name appears on the regular customers list in Cafe Hawelka, gives you the idea what kind of customers you might find next to your table. Since its opening in 1936 Leopold and Josefine Hawelka had as a main goal to offer a real taste from the old Vienna’s coffee in an traditional environment.
Three generations of Hawelkas – Leopold, his son Günter and his two grandsons, Michael and Amir – continue with this tradition. In the evening, as in the first days, the smell of Josephine’s legendary dumplings spreads through the salon.
Dorotheergasse 6 - 1010 Vienna
Clockwise from top left: wall detail in cafe landtmann; Cafe Demel’s sweet decoration; high service at Cafe Landtmann; cafe Landtmann’s interior; pastry display at cafe Griensteidl; outside Cafe Griensteidl.
with his carriage takes tourists around the old city.
“Vienna is a historical city full of surprises if you are willing to take a ride i will show you”
This is the house of the original Sacher cake. The chocolate cake with an apricot layer has crossed the borders not just of Austria towards the whole european continent but, towards the whole World. And has been an icon among the Viennese Coffee culture since almost its first appereance in the Cafe Sacher’s pastry display. Glamorous and with tradition, defines the personality of the place. With no doubts a visit to this Coffee House is “mandatory” in your legendary Coffee Houses’ Tour around Vienna.
Philharmonikerstrasse 4, A-1010 Vienna
Violine bow maker
“Even though Vienna is a big city is not chaotic like other european capitals”
SMALL VIENNESE COFFEE’S ABC
Brauner, small or large – Black coffee with milk. Also known as “séparée”. Until the middle of the 20th Century the “Brauner” was called a “cup of gold”.
Einspänner – German for “one-horse carriage”. Large Mocha served with whipped cream and a rolled wafer on top. Served in a glass with a handle, presumably because the Fiaker (coachman) had to hold the reins with one hand.
Fiaker – Name of the carriages in Vienna. Large Mocha, with a jigger of kirsch or rum. Traditionally served in a handle glass with whipped cream and a cocktail cherry.
Franziskaner – Small Mocha with hot milk, served with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
Intermezzo – Small Mocha, stirred with hot chocolate and Crème de Cacao, served with whipped cream and a praline (e.g. chocolate Mocca Beans)
Kaisermelange – Mocha mixed with egg yolk, honey and brandy.
Kappuziner – Small Mocha with a few drops of cream (until it takes the color of the Capuchin cowl)
“Maria Theresa” - Small elongated Mocha with equal parts orange liqueur and brandy, 2 teaspoons sugar, with a whipped cream topping and sprinkled with colorful sugar crumbles (served in a glass).
Melange, a.k.a. Wiener Melange - Melange is French for “blend”. Usually, 1/2 cup of coffee, completed with 1/2 cup foamed milk.
Mocha, large or small – Black coffee served in a large or small cup. Not to be confused with a Café Mocha, which is served with chocolate syrup and hot milk.
“Obermaier” - Black, slightly sweetened coffee with cold cream poured over the back of the spoon. Supposed to be drunk hot through the cold cream.
Pharisäer – 4cl of Rum stirred with sugar in an Einspänner-glass, infused with hot Mocha and covered with whipped cream.
Piccolo – small Mocha with whipped cream
Überstürtzter Neumann – Put whipped cream in an empty coffee cup, which is then served separately with a double mocha. The double mocha is poured over the whipped cream at the guest’s table (“überstürzen”). Just because of this little ceremony it is a treat.
Verlängerter – German for “extended”. Small Mocha, infused with hot water to a large Mocha. Can be served with or without milk.
“Verkehrter” – German for “inverted”. A common tea glass a small Mocha is filled up with foamed hot milk. Therefore “inverted” because it has more milk than coffee. Known in Italy as a caffè latte.
One thing that all of these different types of coffee have in common is: the glass of water. It is custom in Vienna that, as a guest in a decent coffee house, you are served a glass of fresh water on the side. This is to refresh the palate and to round off the enjoyment of coffee.
And what is your favourite kind of coffee?
SOME PLACES OF INTEREST YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS IN VIENNA
Clockwise from top left: MUMOK(museum moderner kunst); Schönbrunn Palace; the former imperial Court Silver and Table Room at Hofburg; view of Vienna from the south tower at Stephansdom; Wiener opera house; tourist carriage; outside Mozart’s house; Hofburg palace.
WHERE TO STAY
The Levante Parliament
With an excellent location close to tram and subway transportation system, this is a very good choice to plan your trip around the Imperial City of Vienna. Rooms are spacious and spotless and the Hotel staff will pamper you as a member of the Austrian royalty. Try the Spa after long walks of exploration, either to experience yourself the Viennese Coffee Culture or just after endless museum visits, it will make you feel like flying among sky clouds. Breakfast is varied and good quality. Don’t miss the freshly made omelette!!!
Ask for the appartments for rent they have, where you can create your own dreamed oasis!!!
Auerspergstrasse 9 - 1080 Vienna – Austria