As a fellow coffee and tea addict, I think it is part of my duty as a Vienna correspondent to tell you all of my favorite coffee spots in the city. Coffee culture in Vienna is a bit of a learning curve since the options here to get a boost of caffeine are quite different than in the U.S. Back home, my go-to orders are often a latte, cappuccino, London fog, chai latte, or matcha latte (all with oat milk of course!), but the majority of those drinks are not very common in traditional Viennese cafes.
The Viennese love their coffee. This vibrant cafe culture goes back to 1683 when the Ottoman empire was trying to capture the city of Vienna. The Holy Roman Empire, fought by the Habsburg Monarchy’s army, defeated the Ottomans and found bags of coffee beans in the ashes of the battle as the Ottomans retreated. Once paired with milk and sugar, cafes popped up overnight around the city, and the Viennese have been lovingly sipping their coffee ever since.
There are several Viennese coffee specialties. My personal favorite is the Melange. A Melange is very similar in makeup to a cappuccino, as there is foam on top of it. The Melange is made up of espresso, milk, and it is topped with milk foam. I like mine with a few sugar packets as well, because I have quite a sweet tooth, and Viennese coffee is pretty strong. I have come to prefer a melange to a cappuccino, as when I’ve ordered cappuccinos in the past in Europe, they always come with chocolate on top. While this may not be a problem for other people, I am not a chocolate fan (surprising, I know!), and the Melange is never served with chocolate on top. It’s much easier to ask for a Melange in German than to fumble with my words and try to explain why I don’t want chocolate on a cappuccino.
An Einspaenner is another traditional coffee variety, where espresso is diluted with hot water and served with whipped cream. A Brauner is a portion of mocha (a coffee blend of espresso and hot chocolate milk) and heavy cream. Out of the three, I prefer the Melange the most.
While the traditional cafes such as Cafe Central, Cafe Demel, and Cafe Schwarzenberg are a must-try for anyone visiting or studying in Vienna, they are often very formal and do not let you stay for a long time, which is one of my favorite things about going to a cafe. If I had to choose a favorite traditional cafe, though, it would be Cafe Diglas, in the 1st district, right by the Mozart Haus. It has a cute pink exterior, and there are live piano performances occasionally in the evenings. My roommate and I went there the first week to get a coffee and some cake, a great combination, and it was a lot of fun!
As for studying cafes, those are a little difficult to find in Vienna. Most cafes are used as lunch spots or places to catch up with friends, and some cafes will even limit wifi time or forbid computers altogether, as they don’t want students staying there for hours on end. While this is understandable, I find that I do my best work in cafes, so it has been a goal of mine to find the best studying cafe in the city. After doing a lot of research on social media, Jonas Reindl cafe in the 1st district and the 7th district was recommended to me. I went one Saturday afternoon and stayed for a few hours, doing work and enjoying a coffee and a cake simultaneously. It was a great environment with a lot of students doing the same thing, so I didn’t feel out of place at all.
Another great spot in the city for a coffee is not a studying cafe at all. Truth Coffee is a tiny, hole-in-the-wall cafe tucked into this little alleyway. It is not far from Stephansplatz, which makes it easy to get to from my apartment (which is a good and a bad thing :) ). The last time I was there, I enjoyed a chai latte on a rainy day. They have the cutest to-go coffee cups and stickers to go with them!
There are so many great places in Vienna to grab a coffee or tea, this blog post could be never-ending! Anywhere you stop is a great decision. I highly recommend coming to Vienna and experiencing it for yourself!
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Hi! My name is Grace Heaton and I am thrilled to be studying abroad in Vienna during the Fall 2022 semester. I am an incoming Sophomore at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA studying Marketing, French, and German. In my free time I enjoy traveling, learning languages, listening to music, going to coffee shops, and adventuring with friends! I am excited to immerse myself in Austrian culture this fall, and can't wait to see where this journey takes me!