What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “Vienna”? Opera? Yes, that for sure is no surprise, but there is also one other thing that the Viennese are particularly proud of and that is their coffee culture. It is literally everywhere and every self-respecting citizen of Vienna takes their time for a cup of coffee at least once per week.
Even if I don’t have the time for this ritual every day, I do my best to indulge a cup of coffee over the weekend in one of those cozy cafés. As difficult as it may be to believe sometimes I enjoy a cup of coffee more than a rich breakfast/ brunch just because it is not that time consuming, plus, here they really know what a good coffee is.
The most typical options that you can get are the espresso, wiener melange, kleiner/ großer Brauner, cappuccino and if you are at a really nice coffee shop – a Fiaker. So since I think my readership is pretty much aware of what an espresso and cappuccino are, I would not delve deeper into that, but go straight ahead for those other ones:
This is typically the coffee I get when I need a boost on a slow morning. It resembles cappuccino quite a bit, but there is much more milk foam and the coffee tastes a bit milder and not so bitter.
Kleiner/ großer Brauner
This one depending on the size of your cup is Turkish coffee with some milk in it, so basically another option for the people who like their coffee with something extra.
The Fiaker’s name comes from the coaches that are roaming up and down the streets of Vienna and just as the horses’ blood is steaming from the galloping, your heart will too since in addition to the whipped cream on top of your cup of coffee, there is a sneaky shot of whiskey inside of it too.
Some of the most famous cafés in Vienna are of course Café Central, Café Mozart, Café Landtman and the café at Hotel Sacher. However, as beautiful and amazing those coffee shops are, they are always full of tourists and you will be most likely asked to wait for a table (been there done that). Some places even put an hour-tag on your table with the time when you have to leave.
Yet, although Vienna is not such a big city, it has a lot to offer. Don’t frown if the fancy dressed Kellner sends you away or asks you to wait for another thirty minutes outside, there are many other options to choose from. I’ll give you a short list of cafés, where you’ll find the Viennese spirit of coffee culture but might as well skip all the lines.
Café Prückel, Café Weimer, Café Sperl and Café Bellaria are just a few suggestions, but speaking from experience, those places are just as authentic in making up for the best experience of Viennese coffee culture. However, they almost always have a free place and they are mainly visited by Viennese, since several of those are off the beaten track. So if you want to see locals in their natural habitat, sipping on a cup of Melange and reading a newspaper make sure to pay those a visit. The other interesting thing is that you will feel as you went back in time fifty years ago (but in the good sense) and be able to take a break from the hustle of the busy city life.