Coffee culture in Vienna
“Where time and space are consumed, but only coffee is found on the bill”
No one can visit Vienna without experience a Viennese coffee house, a typical institution that has shaped Viennese culture. In fact, as of 2011, the coffee house culture of Vienna has been listed as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ by UNESCO.
Your typical coffee house in Vienna will offer a large selection of coffees, international newspapers and delicious pastries or desserts. In some, there will even be live music in the evening, and various social events such as literary readings. In the summer, many of the cafes spill out onto the streets into a Schanigarten.
In Vienna, it is completely normal for someone to sit alone for many hours in a coffee shop, whether they are working, reading newspapers or simply people-watching.
Some famous coffee houses in Vienna include
- Café Central – Herrengasse 14
- Café Demel – Kohlmarkt 14
- Café Sacher – Philharmonikerstraβe 4 (part of the Hotel Sacher)
- Aida – a chain, with multiple locations all over the city
Ordering coffee in Austria
Never in Vienna can you simply ask for a “coffee”. You’d probably be met with looks of confusion or disgust. Make sure you know your varieties! Here are the most common ones to get you started:
Kleiner/Groβer Brauner: Small or large, black coffee with a little milk. Typically not filtered, but steamed like espresso
Melange: Frothed milk and steamed coffee, similar to the Italian cappuccino
Milchkaffee: A latte. Large coffee with frothed milk.
Einspänner: Strong, black coffee, typically served with a little whipped cream.
Verlängerter: Weaker, but larger version of the Groβer brauner, served with milk.
Schwarzer or Mokka: Strong, black coffee, usually consumed with sugar, but served without.
Kurzer of Espresso: A single shot of coffee.
Eiskaffee: Cold coffee with ice cream, chocolate and whipped cream.
Cappuccino: NOT like an Italian cappuccino, but a regional variation made with whipped cream rather than frothed milk.
Considering the coffee consumption in Austria is one of the highest in the world, more so even than Italy, no trip to Vienna is complete without a trip to a coffee house.