The Wiener Kaffeehaus: Beyond Coffee

Erica Spear
September 25, 2015

If you had to ask me what I liked most about living in Vienna, I wouldn't be able to pick one thing out. Where would I even begin?? Luckily, I can say with much confidence that the Wiener Kaffeehaus is definitely very high on my list.

Vienna is home to countless coffeehouses. Coffee here is different than it is back home -- coffee is often viewed as a source of caffeiene, an energy boost, something to order quickly to take with you, to-go. Not here in Vienna -- coffee is more than just a drink. It's an experience; it's a state of mind. You may walk in expecting to enjoy a quick cup and then leave, but then you look around and see the coffee culture that surrounds you: people enjoying an afternoon treat, students studying, two men engaged in a conversation; a game of cards between friends. There is no rush to leave -- many people stay for hours on end. This is quite evident, as many waitors and waitresses will not come by to check on you very often once you have received your order; it may take some work to flag them down to pay! 

The inviting atmosphere is one great aspect of the experience, but we can't forget about the coffee. Viennese coffee is rather strong, and always served with a glass of water -- this helps aid in the digestion of the strong brew. Certain specialty drinks call Vienna home, for example, the melange, a drink made with coffee and milk that can be likened to a latte; or the einspanner, a double-shot of espresso topped off with a wonderfully rich unsweetened whipped cream that melts into the hot coffee as you drink it. If you're looking for something extra, some places will also offer the eiskaffee -- a coffee drink that also incorporates scoops of ice cream and whipped cream -- a dessert and a drink, all in one. And if you're not a coffee fan, there is the option of ordering hot tea -- and most places serve treats such as apfelstrudel (apple strudel), topfenstrudel (like an apple strudel, but with a sweet cream cheese filling), sachertorte (dark chocolate cake with apricot jam and dark chocolate ganache), and quite possibly, a variety of other cakes, pies, and tarts (sometimes even ice cream dishes) to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Raspberry and Chocolate Mousse Tart and Einspanner at the Palmenhaus Cafe     Topfenpalatschinken (Cheese Crepes) and Kleiner Brauner (Espresso)     Melange and Apfelstrudel at Cafe Hawelka  
The Kaffeehaus experience is truly one not to miss out on if you're ever passing through Vienna -- the beauty of the experience lies in the time. It's a nice pause in your day, to be used at your leisure; to be experienced alone, or with another person, or maybe with several people. Whatever it may be, your experience is what you make it -- and it's sure to be wonderful every time.


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Erica Spear

<p>Erica is a senior at Appalachian State University, where she is double-majoring in Flute Performance and Music Education at the Hayes School of Music. At school, she is heavily involved in performing and teaching, at the university and in the surrounding area. Erica has a fairly global background, having family worldwide and being raised as a bilingual speaker (English and Japanese) but this is her first time abroad in Europe. She is looking forward to immersing herself in Viennese culture and embracing all of the art and history that the city has to offer. In her spare time, she enjoys running, yoga, cooking and baking, hiking, dancing, various creative outlets, and being introduced to new people and activities.</p>

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