A Word on Viennese Coffee

Vienna is famous for its history, opulent architecture, and its cafes. The city is credited as the originator of the coffeehouse back in the 19th century.

Today, the city is still cluttered with cafes. Some date back to the 1880s and advertise which famous artist or intellectual frequented each cafe back in the day. It seems most Viennese do not care about such things, and simply choose their favorite cafe for the quality of the coffee, the atmosphere, and availability of wifi.

We tried several cafes around the city with very high expectations. A friend of mine used to live in Vienna and had told me that he firmly believes this city serves the best coffee in the world.

I will say it is some of the elegant coffee I have been served. Every cup is brought out on a small silver tray with a delicate spoon just bigger than my smaller-than-average  pinky. Waiters often wear tuxedos, too, which made me feel slightly under-dressed to have my morning coffee.

Aside from the refined accompaniments, the coffee itself was unimpressive in my view. I tried several different drinks: melange, cappuccino, kleiner and großer brauner, cafe latte, and verlangerter. They were good, but not the best I have had. I got the sense that they rely on accessories that complement the coffee to actually make the coffee good. I mean this in terms of the silver tray and presentation as well as the actual ingredients in the popular drinks. Many drinks come with whipped cream and/or heaping portions of steamed milk. I am not against milky coffee by any means, but the coffee should be strong and well roasted and brewed enough for the milk to complement rather than dominate the coffee taste.

Anyway, I enjoyed hanging out in the cafes of Vienna, even though the coffee and cakes came at very high prices. Many cafes do have a good feel to them, and that is sometimes just as important or more important than the coffee itself. Cafe Ansari on Praterstraßer and Cafe Korb.


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