Try to order simply “coffee” anywhere in Vienna and you will only get weird looks back. Coffee? Which kind of coffee? Großer Schwarzer, kleiner Brauner, Einspänner, Melange or Verlängerter? And certainly there is a bunch of gay cafés in the city as well.
For visitors to the city it is an attraction, for locals a second home, and for artists and literati an institution: the Viennese Coffeehouse. Viennese coffeehouse culture was officially added to the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list in 2011.
Coffeehouses in Vienna are much more than just places to drink coffee – they are a way of life. The city boasts in excess of 800 of them – in addition to the numerous café bars, café restaurants and pizza cafés throughout the city. Around 150 are classic coffeehouses, where the waiters are still dressed in black, and the décor is as unpretentious as it was in the ‘good old days’: wooden floors, marble-topped tables, and seating that is simple and plush.
Every ‘scene’ in Vienna has its own café: workers at the ministries have Café Ministerium on Georg-Coch-Platz, art students Prückel at Stubenring, and politicians Landtmann at Universitätsring. The coffeehouse is a place for philosophizing, meditating, idling, reading the newspaper, gossiping, canoodling, playing billiards or chess, discussing everything under the sun with strangers – and, of course, enjoying coffee and cakes.
The great novelist Heimito von Doderer wrote in 1960 that Vienna was “a city of Roman origin aspiring to the Mediterranean”. To him this explained why the atmosphere in a Viennese café was one of “meditative quiet and idle passing of time” familiar to anyone who had visited an Oriental or Turkish café.
Source: Wien Tourismus, GIV
Let us help you:
- großer Schwarzer - a double Mokka
- kleiner Brauner or großer Brauner - single or double Mokka plus milk
- Verlängerter - “lengthened” (i.e. diluted) Mokka with more water plus milk
- Melange - half Mokka, half heated milk, often topped with foamed milk
- Franziskaner - Melange topped with whipped cream not foamed milk
- Kapuziner - kleiner Schwarzer plus whipped cream
- Einspänner - großer Schwarzer topped with whipped cream
- Wiener Eiskaffee - iced Mokka with vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream
Of course you can also order Italian styles such as espresso, cappuccino or – most common nowadays – caffe latte. Traditionally, coffee is served with a glass of water. Try one of the gay Cafés in Vienna.