Ordering coffee is a pretty simple thing right? Single or double espressos, a latte, or drip coffee with cream. In Vienna however, the coffee culture is a whole different ballgame. On their recent trip to Europe, our friends at A Cook Not Mad explored the many coffee houses of Vienna, Austria and share how to order a coffee along with some helpful tips they learned along the way:
On our recent trip to Vienna, we didn’t anticipate that Viennese coffee culture is very different from other coffee cultures. Here, we didn’t see anyone just order an espresso and drink it quickly at the bar the way you do in Italy or grab a coffee to-go and consume it while going about your business like we do North America. Instead, what we did see were people sitting, reading books or newspapers or hanging out with friends, enjoying a leisurely cup accompanied by a delicious dessert. For them it seemed like a ritual, more than a caffeine fix.
We visited quite a few coffee houses during our 4 days in Vienna; the first one being Café Sperl, in operation since 1880. We ordered two espressos with a little steamed milk (macchiato), our gracious server left the table and returned, not with coffee but with a small leaflet describing 12 hot and 9 cold coffee drinks. That’s when we realized it was a bit more complicated here.
We thought we would try and simplify the task for anyone planning a trip to Vienna and its wonderful coffee houses:
- A Kleiner Schwarzer is a strong black coffee, like espresso, it comes in a small cup and you can request it “short”.
- Order a Kleiner Brauner and you will get the same as above with the addition of cream.
- If you’d like a large Kleiner Brauner you need to ask for a Grosser Brauner, without cream it becomes a Grosser Schwarzer.
- A Verlängerter Schwarzer is a strong coffee in a large cup lengthened with hot water, similar to an Americano. A Verlängerter Brauner is the same with the addition of cream.
- If you like more milky drinks, the Mélange is a coffee lengthened with hot water and steamed milk with foamed milk on top. The Franziskaner is a mélange with whipped cream topping replacing the foamed milk.
- A latte style coffee is called Kaffee Verkehrt, strong coffee with lots of milk added. Some coffee houses will serve the steamed milk in a pitcher on the side so you can add as much or as little as you desire.
- Kapuziner is what you would order if you want a double with whipped cream and an Einspänner if you would like to savour a coffee with whipped cream and icing sugar served in a glass.
- In the mood for an upside-down coffee? Order a Uberstürzter Newmann. Whipped cream is placed in the bottom of a large coffee cup and a double is poured over it.
- If you’re into iced coffee drinks you will definitely want to try the Mazagran, a double served in a glass, iced and infused with a maraschino liqueur.
- Ordering a Wiener Eiskaffee, you will be served a glass of vanilla ice cream on which cold coffee has been poured, with a topping of whipped cream as thick as butter.
- A Gerührter Eiskaffee is more of a coffee dessert, how else would you describe vanilla ice cream and coffee blended and topped with whipped cream?
Whatever your coffee drink of choice, once ordered, it will arrive to your table on a silver tray with a tiny pitcher of milk or cream, some sugar cubes and a spoon.
Do yourself a favour; forget your waistline and order a fresh made dessert (you won’t regret it!) We suggest the cheese or apple strudels; two rich and filling treats that go perfectly with a Kleiner Schwarzer.
You can find Café Sperl at Gumpendorfer Straße 11
Tel. 01 5864158
Mon to Sat 7:00 am–11:00 pm
Sun 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Other coffee houses to check out while in Vienna:
Café Leopold Hawelka at Dorotheergasse 6
Tel. 01 5128230
Mon to Sat 8:00 am – 2:00 am
Sun 10:00 – 2:00 am
Café Central at Herrengasse 14
Tel. (+43.1) 533 37 63 Ext. 24 or 61
Mon to Sat 7:30 am – 10:00 pm
Sun 10:00 am – 6:00 pm