Around the World with Bristol
First stop.....Vienna, Austria!
The Bristol Team was last week in Vienna, Austria, a city that prides itself on its coffee culture. The Viennese elevated the simple cup of coffee to a lifestyle and, in many people’s opinion, to an art form. Drinking coffee in one of Vienna’s iconic coffeehouses is an integral part of the city’s social experience.
Coffee wasn’t always an essential part of Viennese life. In fact, coffee wasn’t introduced to the city until the year 1683, when Turkish invaders were forced to flee the city and left behind sacks of small brown beans. The sacks were almost burned as they were mistakenly considered camel feed; however, Polish King Jan III Sobieski gave the beans to Officer Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki of the Polish-Habsburg army, who began to experiment with the beans by adding milk and sugar. Through his experimentation, Kulczycki introduced what would become the country’s premier beverage and opened a coffeehouse soon after. Kulczycki, however, did not open Vienna’s first coffeehouse. The city’s first coffeehouse was opened by Armenian businessman and supposed spy, Johannes Diodato in 1685.
Although Vienna’s coffee obsession is one of the city’s most enduring traditions, Viennese coffee culture really rose to fame thanks in part to people such as Sigmund Freud, Egon Schiele, Leon Trotsky, and Gustav Klimt who publically lauded it.
When entering a Viennese coffeehouse, one will immediately notice the billiards tables, plush velvet seating, as well as the tables with stacks of newspapers. It is a space that is designed to convey a feeling of being in one’s living room where one welcomingly sits for hours, reads the newspapers and, of course, drinks coffee.
Despite Austria not producing coffee, the Viennese crafted a vast list of coffee concoctions like many European counterparts (e.g. France, Italy). If one would like a black coffee, one would request a Mokka or Schwarzer, while a Melange would be the closest Viennese equivalent to a cappuccino. Other items include the Einspänner, served in a glass with whipped cream, the Maria Theresa with orange liqueur and whipped cream, or the Turkische which comes in a copper pot with coffee grounds and sugar. The list goes on. Each cup is served on a silver tray and accompanied by a glass of cold tap water, and sometimes even a little nibble of chocolate.
Learn more about coffee traditions from around the world by keeping up with our blog.