Coffeehouses in Vienna
C are more commonplace than McDonald's in the English-speaking world these days, but they were a part of Viennese culture long before Seattle ever heard of Starbucks. What's more, the Kaffeehäuser of Vienna have more in common with Parisian literary cafés or English pubs than they do with modern espresso bars that serve latté in paper cups. The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig described the Viennese café as "an institution of a special kind...a sort of democratic club for discussion, writing, and playing cards."
Don't let Zweig's description keep you from patronizing Vienna's coffeehouses if you prefer solitary sipping to activities befitting an extrovert. Another writer, Alfred Polgar, had this to say about Vienna's legendary Café Central, a Baroque coffeehouse in the grand tradition whose whose patrons have included Goethe, Beethoven, Mahler, and Trotsky:
What to order
Coffee is the main stock in trade of the coffeehouse, as you might expect, but the beverage choices are different from what you might expect at home. Cleanse your mind of familar Italian names like "espresso" and "cappucino" and memorize these choices instead:
Schwarzer. Strong black coffee. A kleiner Schwarzer is the equivalent of an espresso; a grosser Schwarzer is a double shot. Also called a Mokka.
Brauner. Coffee with a dash of milk or cream.
Goldener. Coffee with milk; similar to "regular coffee" in New York.
Mélange. Equal amounts of milk and coffee with froth.
Kaffee Crème. Coffee with a miniature pitcher of milk on the side.
Kapuziner. Cappucino. (Same name, different language.)
Kurz. A single shot of espresso.
Mokka. See "Schwarzer" above.
Verlängter. Coffee with hot water added; a good choice for visitors who like their coffee weak.
Einspänner. Coffee in a glass with a hefty dollop of Schlagobers or Schlag (whipped cream).
Fiaker. Espresso in a glass with sugar and Kirschwasser (a dry cherry brandy), topped with whipped cream and a cherry.
Pharisäer. Espresso in a glass with sugar, whipped cream, cocoa, and a shot of rum.
Many coffeehouses serve other variations on the coffee theme, such as Eiskaffee (coffee, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream) and alcoholic combinations. Also, you can usually count on a tasty assortment of pastries, especially in the afternoon.
Coffee from Vienna
The History of
the Coffeehouse (Kaffeehaus) in Vienna
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