Austria – influencing coffee culture for over 300 years
Austria, a small country in the center of Europe has contributed quite a lot to the development of modern coffee culture in Europe and far beyond. You will find many coffee shops around the world carrying names like Café Mozart, Vienna Coffee House relating to Austria. Even the American coffee chain Blue Bottle Coffee borrowed its name from one of the first Viennese coffee houses, the “Zur
Are you a first-time visitor to Austria or a newly arrived resident?To make the most of your stay and avoid embarrassment, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some local customs and peculiarities. Just trying to get some coffee in a traditional Austrian café can be a challenge. The choices offered will differ from back home – wherever that may be.
Facing the challenge to order correctly in a Viennese coffee houseDon’t make the mistake of ordering “a coffee” in a classic café. You will get nothing more than a blank stare by your waiter. If he is in a good mood, he may hand you a menu with a list of anywhere between ten and twenty different preparations. Some of these may resemble a coffee drink from home to some extent, but most of the choices will be different. And don’t confuse your waiter wit “Vienna Coffee”. This might exist somewhere else, but not in Austria. It is certainly a good idea to memorize the names in German, at least for your favorite choice. This will help to make your Austrian coffee experience a pleasant one.
What’s so special about Austrian coffee?One thing you will notice is that most of their coffee preparations do not come pre-sweetened. Sugar dispensers are on your table and how much you want to stir into your coffee is your own choice. Another thing is the generous use of whipped cream. The German word for it is “Schlagobers”. Mind you, it’s freshly made whipped cream, the real McCoy. If you grew up on the spray can version you will be in for a revelation and not be able ever to go back to that artificial stuff. There are also no flavored syrups, no soy lattes, no half and half. If you crave those you will have to go to the globally operating coffee chain that you always wanted to get away from. Yes, they are even in Austria and slowly gaining traction. Several coffee preparations are fortified and flavored with a little alcohol. A shot of rum,
Mokka, the basic unit for most of At the core of all coffee preparations in Austria is the “Mokka”. It is a strong black coffee which in the past was filtered in a special coffee pot called Seihkanne or Karlsbader Kanne. In this Wikipedia article, you can find some images of such a pot, the explanation is in German, however. Nowadays, for speed and convenience, most coffee houses prepare the Mokka in an espresso machine. It is like an Italian espresso, but not exactly the same as it is prepared with a little more water. Mokka is pure coffee and does not contain any chocolate at all. Traditionally, Austrian coffee houses used beans from Yemen or Ethiopia. Some coffee houses are proud of their own blends. However, these days many just use commercial blends from Meinl, Illy, Segafredo, etc. The Mokka was named after a port city in Yemen, once a major center for the coffee trade. The association of Mokka or Mocha with chocolate originated from a natural flavor component of coffee beans from Yemen hinting of chocolate. Just as a side note for clarity, the term Mokka is also used for Turkish coffee, which is a totally different animal.
Austrian coffee preparations
How to order coffee in a Viennese coffee house like a local
Kleiner Brauner – Grosser Brauner If you like your coffee with milk or cream, order a “Kleiner Brauner” or “Grosser Brauner” = little or big brown one. This is just a Mokka served with milk or cream on the side which you can add yourself as you like. You have full control of the proportion that’s right for you.
Verlängerter A Mokka with hot water added, similar to an Americano. Verlängert means extended.
Melange (sometimes also called Wiener Melange) This is Mokka and steamed milk in equal proportions and a little milk foam on top. You can have a little cocoa powder sprinkled on top if you like. This preparation is like a Cappuccino but uses milder coffee beans.
Franziskaner Quite similar to Melange, but instead of milk foam there is Schlagobers (whipped cream) on top. Kapuziner A Mokka with a little cream added. The cream is not just any kind of coffee creamer but real cream, also used for whipping. The brown color is reminding of the cloak of a Kapuziner monk, thus the name.
Maria Theresia Kaffee Looks like an Einspänner served in a different