Coffee house culture is a Viennese success story and an intangible UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. It has its beginnings in 1685 and reached its peak in the 19th century. Coffee house culture not only flourished in Vienna but spread to all cities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from Zagreb to Prague, from Innsbruck to Lemberg.
What defines the Viennese Coffee House? Firstly there is the pleasure of reading newspapers for hours on end when you buy a coffee. Discussing everything and nothing in the world with friends and acquaintances. A smooth transition from breakfast to a light lunch, or even taking your work to the coffee house. Many artists and writers worked from the Viennese Coffee Houses, which is why they are also known as literati cafes and coffee house literature.
Naturally coffee is the foundation of a coffee house. The coffee house owners are known as coffee roasters – each has their own unique blend. However, you will not find ‘coffee’ on the menu, instead you chose from:
Melange: Espresso with hot milk and milk foam
Verlängerter (Americano): Espresso with twice the amount of water
Kleiner und Großer Schwarzer (small and large black coffee): Mocha/Espresso
Kleiner und Großer Brauner (small and large brown coffee): Espresso with milk or cream, served separately
Fiaker: large black coffee with lots of sugar and rum or cognac
And approximately 100 additional coffee house specialities
Pastries and cakes also established themselves in the Viennese Coffee Houses and some of them gained international fame. The confectioners, which are known as ‘Zuckerbäcker – sugar bakers’ created the Sacher Cake, as well as the Malakoff and Esterházy Cake. The Viennese tea cakes are also legendary.
Here is a small selection of coffee houses, which are ideally located for visitors in the city centre:
Traditional business with an uncompromising demand for quality
Everything made fresh, pleasantly large servings
19th century atmosphere, excellent Sacher Cake
Traditional business, excellent pastries
The art of sweetness – unconventional and trendy