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Coffeehouse Tradition


The coffeehouse-tradition of Vienna goes back to the year 1683 when the Turkish army was beaten in front of the gates of Vienna, fled off and left a lot of booty. Among valuable items there were sacks of brown beans nobody wanted. But Georg Franz Kolschitzky knew from his travels to Turkey that these beans were coffee. He opened one of the first coffeehouses in Vienna. Around the year 1800 there were already 90 coffeehouses in Vienna, about 600 around 1900 and before World War II in 1938 the number increased to about 1300. Even nowadays there are still many traditional ones among the over 500 coffeehouses in Vienna alone.   

The Viennese regard the coffeehouse as an extension of their living room. You can relax after a busy day, meet old friends and make new ones, read newspapers and enjoy coffee, cakes and pastries . In many countries it is not unusual that after the last sip the bill is presented, but in Vienna this kind of kick-out would be unimaginable. On the contrary coffee is always served with a glass of water which is always replenished as long as you want to stay.  

In Austria coffee is served in a variety of styles. Most important: never order just coffee – everybody will know that you are a tourist. There is a word for every coffee imaginable. The most usual coffee varieties are:

  • Mokka: similar to Italian Espresso, but extracted more slowly

  • Grosser Brauner: large cup of coffee with a dash of milk

  • Kleiner Brauner: small cup of coffee with a dash of milk

  • Grosser Schwarzer: a large cup of Mokka

  • Kleiner Schwarzer: a small cup of Mokka

  • Melange: half Mokka, half heated milk, topped with foamed milk, similar to Capuccino

  • Verlaengerter: diluted Mokka

  • Einspaenner: a large cup of Mokka topped with much whipped cream

  • Kapuziner: a small cup of Mokka plus a few drops of whipped cream

  • Franziskaner: half Mokka, half heated milk, topped with whipped cream