Travel Thursday: How To Get Coffee In Vienna

If you find yourself in Vienna, you have to check out the coffee culture. Here are a few tips for where to go, what to drink, and how to order and enjoy your Kaffeehaus experience.

1) Find a Coffee Shop (Kaffeehaus)

If you want to feel like a local: Café Hawelka

cafe hawelka
This cozy, smoke-filled coffeehouse tucked away in an alley is a well-known gathering place for writers and artists. Run by Hawelkas since 1939, this café offers a unique, friendly atmosphere.
Dorotheergasse 6
1010 Vienna, Austria

If you want some cake: Café Demel

cafe demel
Less of a typical kaffeehaus, but the sweets are to die for. You can also watch the pastry chefs at work through the glass window displays. Here you can get their signature Demeltorte, or, the Viennese favorite Sachertorte. Café Demel is in a battle with Café Sacher over the owner of the original recipe.
Kohlmarkt 14
1010 Vienna, Austria

If you want some piano music: Café Central

cafe central
Vaulted ceilings and chandeliers make for a pretty idyllic Viennese café. There is often a pianist performing for patrons in the evening.
Herrengasse 14
1010 Vienna, Austria

If you want to channel Freud: Café Landtmann

Cafe Landtmann
This café, which was frequented by famous figures such as Freud and Trotsky, still hosts the elite.
Altmannsdorfer Strasse 158
1230 Vienna, Austria

If you want a cozy atmosphere: Kleines Café

kleines cafe
Movie buffs may recognize the green walls and outdoor seating from the 1995 film Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Hidden in a quarter in the middle of the city, it’s a great place to hide from the bustling city in plain sight.
Franziskanerplatz 3
1010 Vienna, Austria
If none of these strike your fancy, pick one from this list.

2) Pick a Drink

Brauner: coffee with milk (small [kleiner] or large [grosser])
Melange: a blend of coffee and hot milk
Mokka: strong black coffee
Schwarzer: black coffee (small or large)
Kaffeinfreier Kaffee: decaffeinated coffee
Einspänner: Strong, black coffee typically served in a high glass with a dash of whipped cream.

3) Learn Some German

gruss gott
Ich moechte eine [insert coffee drink], bitte
(ikh MERKH-tuh igh-nuh [ ], BEE-tuh)
This literally means “I would like a [blank] please” (click above for pronunciation). To be more casual, you can drop the “ich moechte,” and go straight to your order. However, make sure never to just order a “kaffee.” The server will expect a more specific choice.
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, note that the Viennese do not usually say the German word “sahne” for whipped cream, but instead say “schlagobers” (shlahg-OBuhs).

4) Grab a Newspaper and Chill

It’s not about the to-go cup. The time you spend at a coffeehouse is just as important as the coffee you consume. In UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage icons, they describe Viennese coffeehouses as places “where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.”

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