Coffee Culture in Vienna
The best way to experience Viennese culture is by going to a traditional Kaffeehaus (coffee house). Drinking coffee in Vienna is the antithesis of the grab-and-go, paper-cup culture of the US. It’s elegant and slow. It may take a while to order and the waiter might be stereotypically grumpy, but there is absolutely no pressure to leave. You can read a book, pick up your favorite newspaper and magazine (which are generally displayed on a large table), or chat with friends. You won’t see people working on laptops, talking on their cell phones, or listening to music. You will see people eating cake, lots of cake. And, you’ll wonder if anyone in this city works.
Viennese Coffee Menu
– Typical Coffee Drinks You Can Order in Vienna –
When you receive a Heißgetränkekarte (hot beverage menu), you’ll be astonished by the length of the coffee menu, and likely your unfamiliarity with the coffee names. Here’s a cheat list:
Wiener Melange – This is similar to a cappuccino (small espresso with milk foam), served in a ceramic cup.
Verlängerter – This is espresso with hot water (Americano), in a ceramic cup. Milk is generally served on the side. And, it translates as “extended one.”
Kleiner Brauner / Großer Brauner – This translates as “little brown one” or “large brown one.” Depending on which Kaffeehaus you’re visiting, this is typically a single, or double espresso, served with a small jug of cream/milk.
Kleiner Schwarzer / Großer Schwarzer – A Kleiner Schwarzer is a single shot of espresso, while a Großer Schwarzer is a double shot of espresso.
Mokka – This is synonymous with Schwarzer (espresso). It’s not espresso with chocolate and steamed milk.
Eiskaffee – This is a dessert “drink,” typically served only in the summer. It’s cold coffee with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
Einspänner – The name for this type of coffee origins from horse-drawn vehicles in the 1900, which were quite common at this time in Vienna. It is a double espresso with 3 cl water and cream served in a mug.
Kaffee verkehrt – This is synonymous with Latte Macchiato. “Verkehrt” means in this case “inverted”, because here you get more milk than coffee.
Franziskaner – Similar to the Melange, but with cream instead of milk foam.
– Traditional Viennese Coffee Houses –
There are many traditional Kaffeehäuser in Vienna, but here are a few of our favorites.
So, there might be a line to get in here, but you absolutely have to go. Once you’re seated, you can enjoy the polished columns, high vaulted ceilings, the ruby red upholstery, white table cloths, an extensive cake selection, and the portraits of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth I (Sissi). This is probably Vienna’s grandest Kaffeehaus.
Address: Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien
Cafe Sacher, inside the historical Hotel Sacher, is famous for inventing the Sacher-Torte. We watched the two-part tv film, “Das Sacher” (Trailer), and I (Sabrina) couldn’t sleep until I tasted the famous chocolate cake. The café, facing the Staatsoper, is resplendently warm and elegant, and upon entering, you feel like you’re stepping into the turn of the century.
Address: Philharmonikerstrasse 4,1010 Wien, next to the Opera house
Less touristy than the other cafés listed above, Café Sperl is a spacious and elegant Kaffeehause dressed with large rounded windows, fine upholstery, dark wood accents and marble tables.
Adress: Gumpendorfer Str. 11, 1060 Wien
This coffee house is famous for their Gulasch. You will meet locals here enjoying their free time with a newspaper or just chatting with friends. It’s not where the tourists go.
Adress: Josefstädter Str. 66, 1080 Wien
Café Demel – too touristy
The windows alone will make you want to run into this café/chocolatier. You can witness the art of making chocolate and cake via a glass interior wall, during your visit. This is a delightful place, though is frequented by tourists more so than locals.
Address: Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Wien
– Modern Viennese Coffee Houses-
At Coffee Pirates, you get to choose how you’d like your coffee prepared: french press, chemix… This spot serves a younger crowd.
Location: Spitalgasse 17, 1090 Wien
This vintage café is located inside a bookshop. You can browse books at your leisure and consider buying any of the furniture in the space (everything is for sale).
Location: Gumpendorfer Str. 10, 1060 Wien
Fett + Zucker
In this queer and cozy café you can expect delicious homemade cakes, they also offer vegan options. Try the banana bread!
Location: Hollandstraße 16, 1020 Wien
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