Coffee Types

Ultimate Guide to (Viennese Coffee): Savoring Austrian Tradition

Dive into the world of Viennese coffee, where each sip transports you to the cobblestone streets of Vienna, echoing with centuries of coffee house culture. Imagine a blend that’s both mellow and rich, with a satisfying balance that comes from the dark, chocolaty notes of perfectly roasted beans from Costa Rica and Brazil.

You’ll discover the elegance of Viennese coffee through its traditional recipes, whether it’s the deep brown medium dark roast that’s been perfected since 1683 or the indulgent original Viennese ice coffee, topped with a cloud of whipped cream. Get ready to explore how these timeless beverages can bring a touch of Viennese sophistication to your coffee routine.

What is Viennese Coffee?

Viennese coffee isn’t just another beverage; it’s a symbol of Austrian culture and sophistication. Imagine sitting in one of Vienna’s storied coffee houses, listening to the gentle clink of porcelain, and savoring a coffee that embodies centuries of tradition. Here’s what makes Viennese coffee stand out:

  • Viennese-style Roasting: This process produces a medium dark roast, known for its deep brown color. The beans are roasted until they reach perfection, balancing on the edge of boldness and smoothness.
  • Blend of Origins: The classic Viennese Blend marries Costa Rican and Brazilian beans to create a mellow and full-flavored cup that’s rich yet refined.

Viennese coffee offers a variety of unique recipes that cater to different tastes. For a refreshing twist, Vienna’s original ice coffee is a luxurious treat. Unlike typical iced coffees, it combines coffee with ice cream and is crowned with whipped cream. Here’s a quick look at the ingredients for an authentic Viennese ice coffee:

Ingredient Quantity
Vanilla Ice Cream 2 scoops
Medium Strong Filter Coffee 1/2 cup (cold)
Whipping Cream 1/2 cup (120 ml)
Unsweetened Cocoa (Optional) For dusting
Dark Chocolate Shavings (Optional) For garnish

Note that the traditional recipe doesn’t call for added sugar or milk, relying instead on the creaminess and sweetness of the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream to achieve that signature mellow taste.

Crafting a cup of Viennese coffee at home is simpler than you might think, bringing Viennese elegance to your coffee routine within minutes. The brewing method amplifies the chocolate undertones, whether you lean towards a comforting, hot Viennese classic or its indulgent iced counterpart.

Remember that it’s the little nuances—like the touch of chocolate, the perfect roast, and the balance of flavors—that transport you to the cobbled lanes and historical coffee houses of Vienna with each sip.

The History of Viennese Coffee

The Origin of Viennese Coffee

The inception of Viennese coffee is as much a story of innovation as it’s a tale of cultural transformation. Your discovery of Viennese coffee begins in 1683, following the significant Battle of Vienna. Famous for his role in the victory, Polish soldier and diplomat Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki was rewarded handsomely. To the surprise of many, he chose bags of coffee from the enemy camp as his spoils of war. This pivotal choice led him to establish Vienna’s first coffeehouse, the House Under the Blue Bottle. Here’s a quick snapshot of the events:

  • Victory at the Battle of Vienna: 1683
  • Coffeehouse established: Shortly after the battle
  • Cultural Change: Introduction of coffee to the Viennese populace

Originally, the inhabitants of Vienna found coffee’s bitter taste unappealing. Kulczycki’s genius stroke was to sweeten the brew with honey and milk, thus endearing it to local palates. Over time, the traditional method of sweetening coffee has evolved, but the indulgent essence of Viennese coffee remains beloved and intact.

The Tradition of Coffeehouses in Vienna

The Viennese coffeehouse isn’t just a place to enjoy a cup of coffee—it’s a historical and social institution. Over the years, these establishments have become iconic for their dedication to a leisurely and luxurious coffee experience. Let’s delve into the essentials that make these cafés so unique:

  • Atmosphere: The ambiance of a traditional Viennese café is one of quiet sophistication, designed for lingering over your drink and engaging in thoughtful conversation or solitude.
  • Variety of Drinks: Coffeehouses in Vienna serve a plethora of distinctive drinks, many of which are unique to the region.

Popular Viennese Coffee Drinks:

Drink Name Description
Einspanner A strong black coffee with a dollop of whipped cream
Melange Espresso mixed with steamed milk and milk froth
Kleiner Schwarzer Small black coffee, similar to an Italian espresso
Grosser Schwarzer Large black coffee, akin to a double espresso
Franziskaner Coffee with frothed milk and whipped cream, often sprinkled with cinnamon

These drinks are typically served on a silver platter, a nod to the formal and traditional service that enhances your coffee experience. Additionally, every espresso is accompanied by a small glass of water, a customary palate cleanser in Vienna’s coffee culture. Viennese cafés offer a timeless refuge from the rush of modern life, inviting you to savor moments of tranquility with each sip of your perfectly crafted beverage.

Whether it’s the sweet, full-bodied flavor of a Melange or the simple robustness of a Kleiner Schwarzer, Viennese coffeehouses cater to a diverse array of tastes while adhering to the time-honored customs that give Viennese coffee its unique identity.

Traditional Viennese Coffee Recipes

Wiener Melange

When you’re craving the comfort of a cappuccino but are curious to taste local Viennese flair, Wiener Melange is your go-to beverage. It’s a harmonious blend of coffee and chocolate, graced by whipped cream and optional chocolate shavings. Interestingly, Wiener Melange often carries a dollop of whipped cream, sometimes even masquerading as a Franziskaner. The preparation is straightforward:

  • Pour 1.5 tablespoons of chocolate topping at the bottom of a cup.
  • Prepare an espresso lungo and add it to the cup.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of whipped cream.
  • Garnish with chocolate flakes.


Prepare to indulge in the opulent Einspänner, a beverage that offers a snapshot of Vienna’s historic coachmen tradition. Crafted with two scoops of vanilla ice cream blended with cold filter coffee, it’s a testament to Vienna’s love for combining the robustness of coffee with the sweetness of ice cream.

  • Start with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream.
  • Pour over 1/2 cup of cold medium-strong filter coffee.
  • Top off with whipped cream — about 1/2 cup for 2-4 servings.
  • Opt to dust with unsweetened cocoa or add dark chocolate shavings.


A Viennese Mélange is an amalgamation of espresso, steamed milk, and a touch of foam. It’s intriguing to note that the term “Melange” in this context merges German and French influences, creating a unique and potent mix, which broadens your sensory palette beyond the typical espresso-based drinks. Here’s what you need for this local favorite:

Ingredient Quantity
Espresso 1 shot
Steamed milk to preference
Milk foam a light layer


Lastly, the Kapuziner steps in as a robust contender in the Viennese coffee line-up. This type of coffee is typically a double espresso with a considerable amount of whipped cream on top. It’s the Viennese answer to a caffeine kick with a creamy twist.

  • Begin with a double shot of espresso.
  • Crown it with a generous serving of whipped cream.

Remember, each of these coffees not only satisfies your caffeine fix but also plunges you into a rich tapestry of Vienna’s history and culture. The elegance of these beverages is not just in their taste but also in the experience they offer, allowing you to enjoy every sip as if you were nestled in one of the city’s illustrious coffee houses.

How to Make Vienna Coffee

Step 1: Combine Two Shots of Espresso and Hot Water

To start your Vienna Coffee, you’ll need to combine the foundational ingredients:

  • Prepare two shots of espresso. If an espresso machine is not within reach, don’t worry. You can substitute with 4 ounces of strong, brewed coffee. This alternative method can easily be done using a Moka pot.
  • Mix with hot water in a handled glass, creating a robust base for your Vienna Coffee.

Step 2: Whip the Cream

The next step adds the luxurious touch to your drink:

  • Use a whisk or electric egg beater to whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
  • For a touch of sweetness, add powdered sugar to the cream as you whip it, though this is optional based on your taste preference.

Step 3: Put the Whipped Cream Over the Espresso

Creating the perfect layered look requires precision:

  • Gently pipe the whipped cream over the coffee. To ensure clear layers, pipe it over the back of a small spoon that’s held just above the espresso.
  • After establishing the initial barrier, continue to add the rest of your whipped cream.
  • Serve the Einspänner immediately. You’ll appreciate the stunning contrast between the hot espresso and the chilled cream.

Step 4: Sprinkle Your Drink with Cocoa Powder

The final flourish to your Vienna Coffee comes with the cocoa:

  • Lightly dust the top of the whipped cream with cocoa powder, adding both flavor and a professional touch to your creation.
  • If you prefer, you can also opt for chocolate shavings for an extra chocolatey experience.

Remember, Vienna Coffee isn’t just a beverage; it’s a testament to Austria’s rich coffee heritage. As you prepare your own, each step brings you closer to replicating the elegance found in a traditional Viennese café. Enjoy the experience as part of your daily ritual or as an occasional indulgence.

How to serve and drink Viennese coffee?

Viennese Coffee at home

When you’re ready to dive into the world of Viennese coffee, presentation and savoring the drink are as pivotal as its preparation. Serving this indulgent beverage requires attention to traditional aesthetics and an appreciation for the rich history behind each cup.

Serving Essentials

  • Opt for Elegance: Serve your Viennese coffee in an elegant wide cup or a tall transparent glass to showcase the beverage’s attractive layers.
  • Always Include Water: Just like in Vienna’s coffeehouses, complement your coffee with a glass of cool, still water to cleanse the palate between sips.
  • Consider a Sweet Treat: Though rich in flavor, Viennese coffee often accompanies a slice of chocolate cake or cream cheesecake, completing a truly sensorial experience.

Drinking Protocol

  • Taste Without Rush: Viennese coffee is crafted for a leisurely experience. Sip it slowly, allowing yourself to taste the harmony of coffee and cream.
  • Dust to Preference: If you’re keen on customizing, add a dusting of unsweetened cocoa, cinnamon, or chocolate shavings to your whipped cream.

An Indulgent Sensory Delight

You’re not just drinking a coffee; you’re indulging in a beverage that tantalizes the senses. Allow the fluffy whipped cream to touch your lips first, followed by the strong, yet mellow flavor of the chilled coffee, accented by the smoothness of vanilla ice cream.

As you sip your Viennese coffee, here’s a quick snapshot of what goes into serving it perfectly:

Viennese Coffee Ingredient Quantity
Filter/Drip Coffee Cold 1/2 cup (120 ml)
Vanilla Ice Cream 2 scoops
Whipping Cream To top (1/2 cup)
Cocoa/Chocolate Shavings For garnish (optional)

Every element from the silky ice cream to the robust coffee combines to deliver that quintessential Viennese taste. Whether served with a sweet confection or enjoyed on its own, Viennese coffee is more than a drink—it’s a tradition, and it’s yours to savor.

Tips for Enjoying Viennese Coffee at Home

Creating the perfect cup of Viennese coffee doesn’t just satisfy your caffeine cravings; it transports you to the heart of Austrian tradition, all from the comfort of your own home. To enhance your enjoyment and get the most authentic experience possible, consider these expert tips.

Select the Right Ingredients
Your Viennese coffee adventure begins with the selection of quality ingredients. The foundation of this drink is a rich espresso, so choosing a high-quality coffee bean is imperative. Opt for a dark roast to achieve that robust flavor.

  • Espresso: Dark roast for a full-bodied flavor
  • Whipped Cream: Freshly whipped yields the best texture and taste
  • Optional: Cocoa powder or chocolate shavings for garnish

Perfect the Whipped Cream
Viennese coffee is renowned for its decadent whipped cream topping. Whip it until it’s thick and holds its shape, but take care not to over-whip, or you’ll end up with butter. A dollop on top of your espresso takes your coffee to new delightfully creamy heights.

Presentation Is Key
Remember, half the experience of Viennese coffee is in its presentation.

  • Serve in a traditional transparent mug to showcase the beautiful layers.
  • A silver platter isn’t necessary, but a nice tray can enhance the feeling of indulgence.

Ambiance Matters
Recreate the mood of a Viennese coffeehouse to elevate your coffee experience.

  • Background tunes: Select a playlist of classical or jazz music to mimic the coffeehouse atmosphere.
  • Reading material: Keep a book or newspaper nearby to enjoy as you sip.
  • Time: Make sure you’re not rushed. Viennese coffee is best enjoyed slowly.

Lastly, consider the temperature and time of day when indulging in your homemade Viennese coffee. The warm aroma and sweet flavor profile make it a perfect choice for a cozy afternoon or evening. Settle into your favorite nook and let the rich flavors and traditions of Vienna coffee culture unfold with every sip.


Embracing the art of Viennese coffee at home elevates your coffee experience to a cultural journey. Remember, it’s all about the details—the quality of your coffee, the perfection of your whipped cream, and the effort you put into the presentation. Set the stage with the right music and a good read to transport yourself to the heart of Austria. Take your time to savor each sip and let the rich history and tradition of Viennese coffee culture envelop you. It’s not just a drink; it’s an indulgence that deserves your full attention. So go ahead, make your next coffee break a luxurious escape.

Check out our list of 65 Types of Coffee from around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Viennese style coffee?

Viennese style coffee is a luxurious European beverage that combines espresso, chocolate, and whipped cream. Chocolate is a key ingredient, giving the coffee its distinctive Vienna flair.

How do you drink Vienna roast coffee?

Vienna roast coffee is ideally enjoyed with milk. To fully savor its rich flavors, brew it as an espresso, or use manual brewing methods such as a Moka Pot, French Press, or South Indian filter.

Why is Viennese coffee served with water?

In Vienna, coffee is traditionally served with a glass of water, providing a place for patrons to rest their spoon after stirring, thus integrating a practical elegance into the coffee experience.

What is the meaning of Vienna coffee?

Vienna Coffee refers to a classic creamy coffee drink made with two shots of strong black espresso, topped with whipped cream instead of milk and sugar, creating a rich and indulgent beverage.

How to order Viennese coffee?

Ordering Viennese coffee requires knowing the local terms:

  • Brauner: coffee with milk (choose small or large)
  • Melange: a harmonious mix of coffee and hot milk
  • Kurz: an extra strong brew
  • Obers: with a touch of cream
  • Mokka: a potent black coffee
  • Kapuziner: black coffee with a hint of frothed milk
  • Schwarzer: straightforward black coffee (pick small or large)
  • Konsul: black coffee with a splash of cream

Ajay Deep

Like many of you, I start my day with a cup of coffee. My love for this beverage grew when I started experimenting with different types of roasted beans at my co-working space. I created to help others explore and experience the best coffee. I am an author and an entrepreneur. Whatever I do, coffee will always remain a passion. You may reach me at

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