Austria: The science of coffee-brewing in Vienna

9.03.2015

Coffee is not just an invigorating brew but rather a scientific area of expertise worth being explored. Barista Schools popping up the world over bear witness to the cognition that a cup of coffee is not something leisurely prepared in one’s stride. It is a challenge which has to be given care and devotion at least as deep as is granted to the meticulously performed Asian Tea Ceremony.

Mistaking a „Kapuziner“ for a „Cappuccino“ – even though both names sound pretty similar – is only forgiven to unillumined foreigners. If a Cappuccino is ordered while in Vienna on a spree of traditional coffee houses (Kaffeehaeuser), one will probably be served it. But the faux-pas lies with the guest: Cappuccino is a strictly Italian thing. After all, the Ottomans had besieged Vienna in 1683 and – apart from war and devastation – they had brought along with them a culinary novelty: In an abandoned Turkish camp, Viennese citizens discovered a number of bags full of precious coffee beans after the battle was over. Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman, had taken hold of the bags and opened Vienna’s first coffeehouse in the same year. www.wien.info/en/shopping-wining-dining/coffeehouses/in-the-old-city

For serious coffee scouts it is advisable to carry a knowledgeable dictionary at all times so as not to unduly embarrass themselves. :-) Here is a short list of the main variety:

Schwarzer oder Mokka (Black or Mocha) = the unadulterated Turkish heritage

Kleiner Brauner (Small Brown) = is a small cup of black coffee served with cream.

Eine Schale Gold (a Cup of Gold) = similar to the above, with a little more cream so the brown becomes mellower.

Verlaengerter (Extended) = Small Brown made with the double amount of water.

Melange (Mix) = Extended with an equal quantity of hot milk added – the froth (oupps!) similar to a Cappuccino’s.
Melange and Wiener Melange are said to be Austria’s most popular coffee specialties.

Franziskaner (Franciscan) = Melange plus cream instead of milk foam.

Milchkaffee (Milk Coffee or Coffee Inverted) = lots of milk with little coffee. It comes with a large cup of frothed milk along with a small pot of Mocha plus some sugar and a glass of water – served on a silver tray. Don’t even think of asking for a Latte Macchiato!

Einspaenner* (means: single horse carriage) = a large Black with whipped cream galore served in a glass together with a shaker containing icing sugar – all placed upon a pretty tray. Traditionally, the coffee is being sipped from underneath the creamy layer.

„Einspaenner“ were actually early taxis in old Vienna used for transporting passengers or messages. The coffee „Einspaenner“ retained its heat for a very long time due to the thick blanket of cream. Ideal to keep the coachman’s freezing hands warm during waiting periods. If a hire was imminent, the brew could be quickly mixed to make an instantly drinkable beverage.

Kapuziner (Capuchin friar) = a small Mocha with a few drops of cream so the coffee adopts the colour of a capuchin’s frock.

Cappuccino = as mentioned before: it’s there. Authentic Italian Cappuccino is served with a hood of frothed milk – not cream! Beware! Italians will chase you out town if you ask for that! In Vienna one has become more lenient and prepares the beverage according to the customer’s wishes.

Source: www.coffee-in-vienna.com/en

    * You may have heard of the Fiaker which is found as a tourist attraction and a means of transport in larger Austrian cities. Classically, instead of on one, it works on two horse-powers. The coachman - or woman - is called Fiaker as well.

* You may have heard of the Fiaker which is found as a tourist attraction and a means of transport in larger Austrian cities. Classically, instead of on one, it works on two horse-powers. The coachman – or woman – is called Fiaker as well. Image credit: Christina Feyerke