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Viennese Café

The Legend

After School

    Cafés are a unique urban cultural feature of Vienna. In this city with a population of 1.89 million, there are more than 2,000 cafes in the urban area. The density is comparable to that of Taiwan's supermarkets. Many of them have been open for more than a hundred years and have a long history and rich history. The legendary café plays an important role in shaping the culture of Vienna. Not only the local coffee lovers linger in it, but it is also an unmissable attraction for tourists to experience the life and culture of Austrians.
​    In October 2011, "Vienna Café Culture" was listed as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage" by UNESCO, and the cafe culture on the left bank of Paris was listed as the two major European cafe cultures. What is the origin of coffee drinking? What is fascinating about the coffee shops in Vienna? Here are the legends about the origin of coffee, the story of the coffee shops in Vienna, and the experience and feelings of my visit to many coffee shops in Vienna in 2012 & 2020.

Lunch Time

At lunchtime, most British people simply eat a sandwich, but instead of eating expensive and unpalatable sandwiches, I usually go to cafes, bars or restaurants. The well-known Betty's Cafe and I often go to Chinese food or afternoon tea with my classmates. , Because we are local residents, we can always arrive at the right time, so we have never queued. Of course, sometimes we want to go back to the dormitory to cook for ourselves. It is also a money-saving option. In short, free arrangement due to nature


Lunch Time

At lunchtime, most British people simply eat a sandwich, but instead of eating expensive and unpalatable sandwiches, I usually go to cafes, bars or restaurants. The well-known Betty's Cafe and I often go to Chinese food or afternoon tea with my classmates. , Because we are local residents, we can always arrive at the right time, so we have never queued. Of course, sometimes we want to go back to the dormitory to cook for ourselves. It is also a money-saving option. In short, free arrangement due to nature


Vienna cafe culture

    In the UK, bars are the most frequent place for people to socialize and socialize, while Austrians regard cafes as an extension of their own living room, and are the best place to socialize, socialize, and communicate with each other. Hans Weigel, a writer who was born in Vienna, loves cafes himself. He once said: "Coffee seems to have become a part of people's souls, just like beer is to Bavaria and whisky is to Scotland. Drinking coffee in a cafe is an important social activity for Austrians and is comparable to the British afternoon tea tradition.


    From the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, the Viennese Café was a popular meeting place for artists, thinkers and intellectuals. They look for inspiration here, talk about current affairs, and even plan revolutions. The coffee shop has developed into a prosperous scene of contending hundreds of schools, and the well-known old shop has carried forward the coffee shop culture and become a symbol of Vienna's humanities and arts. The most precious thing is that most cafes in Austria may change their owners without going Changed hands several times, still standing unshakable. Although the 136-year-old CaféCentral was intermittently in business during World War II, it was able to resume business after the war. This persistence may be a factor in Austria's ability to maintain many century-old cafes.


    The heyday of the Vienna café was at the turn of the 19th century, when writers such as Peter Altenberg, Alfred Polgar, Egon Friedell, Karl Kraus, Hermann Broch, and Friedrich Torberg used the cafe as their preferred place for work and entertainment. Many famous artists, scientists and political leaders of this period​​ Governing the family, such as Arthur Schnitzler, Stephen Zweig, Egon Schiller, Gustav Klimt, Adolf Luce, Theodore Herzl, Alfred De Adler and even Leon Trotsky are frequent visitors of the cafe.

Open-air cafe set a precedent for receiving female guests


    In 1750, a barista obtained permission to set up a few tables and chairs outside the cafe. The German so-called Schanigarten, (Bar Garden) was born, which is the origin of the open-air cafes we see in Vienna. In 1825, the first classic outdoor cafe was born, bordered by tables, chairs and potted plants.

    In 1840, women were allowed to enter the cafe. In the beginning, only women who were accompanied by their husbands to the party or dance were received. At that time, a woman who went to a cafe alone would be regarded as wanting to meet a man. After that, women met and played cards and gossip gradually became popular in Vienna society. Therefore, the café can be said to be the help for the Viennese women to get out of their imprisonment, and it is also a place to overthrow unequal treatment.

Sitting at a Cafe
Image by Dani

Features of Vienna cafes

    In Austria’s cities and towns, streets and lanes, you can see unique and ingenious cafes, high-rise spaces, gorgeous crystal lamps and ceilings, luxurious marble table tops, cafe chairs (Thonet chairs), newspaper tables and historical-style cafes. Interior design details, elegant sofas and curtains, old photos framed with antique frames, etc. create a nostalgic atmosphere, piano playing adds a romantic atmosphere, most of the male servants wear suits, vests and ties or bow ties, and the female waiters wear white aprons. It makes people feel that going to a coffee shop is a formal and elegant leisure, and enjoying coffee is a symbol of a high degree of civilization. In addition to providing a wide range of coffee drinks, international newspapers and creative pastries , the Vienna Café. The social customs and the sense of ceremony also elegantly create a very special atmosphere of the Vienna cafe.

Outdoor Seating

Cafe chair

2012 Vienna Aug 18 084_edited.jpg

Creative pastry




Marble table

In many traditional cafés, there will be live piano music in the evening or social activities such as literature reading in the warmer months. In the warm season, customers can often sit in the open air seats outside the store.

2012 Vienna Aug 16 002_edited.jpg
2012 Vienna Aug 16 074_edited.jpg

    Different from the traditions of coffee shops around the world, in addition to coffee, the waiter will also provide a glass of cold tap water. Traditionally, a glass of water is attached to clean the taste. The coffee spoon on the top of the glass indicates that the glass has just been filled. This is the etiquette inherited from the Habsburg dynasty.

​     Traditional Viennese coffee shops provide a wide range of newspapers. It is common for local customers in Vienna to stay alone for hours to read newspapers.

2012 Vienna Aug 16 079_edited.jpg
Image by Rima Kruciene

A part of the life of a literati

    For centuries, cafes have been the unofficial center of Viennese society. Here, politicians met with reporters, actors met theater director, writer, write books, others play chess or read a newspaper. Cafes are places to relax, think and relax. They are part of Viennese life.

    The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig described the Vienna Café as "actually like a democratic club, where you can sit for a few hours with a cup of coffee, chat, write, play cards, and read as much as you want." Free newspapers and periodicals". At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the leading writers of the time often met in cafes, communicated and wrote. The literature created in cafes is usually called'coffee literature', and its writers are called'cafe poets'. It is said that Die Fackel ("The Torch"""The Torch") of Karl Kraus's famous periodical is mostly written in cafes. Other cafe poets include Arthur Schnitzler, Alfred Polgar, Friedrich Torberg, and Egon Erwin Kisch. The famous writer and poet Peter Altenberg (Peter Altenberg) loves cafés,  He even sent his mail to his favorite cafe, Café Central. He said: "If I was not at home, that is, at a coffee shop; if not in the cafe is on the way to the cafe," he said to the last moment in this race of life inside. Therefore, to commemorate this 30-year-old patron, the Central Café also built a statue for him in the museum (pictured on the right). For the introduction of Central Cafe, please press the button to read the full text


Cafe'decline period'

  In the 1950s, "Espresso" was born. Because it requires very little manpower and technology, and at a lower price, it became a competitor to traditional coffee shops. Coupled with the increasing popularity of television, many famous Vienna cafes had to be closed. Nevertheless, many classic Viennese coffee shops still exist. The tourism industry has renewed interest in the traditions of Vienna's cafes, which has allowed the cafes to make a comeback, and the culture of Vienna's cafes can continue to flourish.

Image by Felipe Bustillo

    In Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Trieste and Lviv and other cities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there are also many cafés that follow the Vienna model. The culture of the Viennese café subsequently spread throughout Central Europe, where writers, artists, musicians, intellectuals, and general guests gathered together to create a special multicultural atmosphere.

    Afterwards, the cultural foundation of the Habsburg Café was severely destroyed by the Holocaust, the expulsion of National Socialism, and communism. Only Vienna and a few places still maintain this special cafe atmosphere. Trieste, Italy, which has experienced many turbulences since 1918, the locals still retain the way of life of the old Viennese cafes, and many cafes still retain the style of the old Viennese cafes, such as Caffè Tommaseo, Caffè San Marco, Caffè degli Specchi, Caffè Tergesteo, Caffè Stella Polare,.

Impact on European coffee culture

Lunch Meeting

Do you speak the language of coffee?

    Vienna not only has its own coffee culture, but also created some special coffee languages . When Viennese people say "Obers," they mean cream. "Schlagobers" is fluffy whipped cream. A tuft of whipped cream on a common coffee is locally called "Gupf" (meaning a lump). The interesting thing is "Schlag", which means a punch. In the coffee language of Vienna, it means whipped cream. So if the waiter asks you "Do you want "Kaffee mit Schlag"", it is not to give you a punch, but Ask you if you want to add fresh cream.

Delicious meals & drinks

    Vienna’s diverse gastronomic culture symbolizes that Austria was once a great empire. The popular national delicacy "Beef Stew" originated from Hungary, and the "Viennese Schnitzel" actually originated in Italy. Viennese people's love for traditional Viennese delicacies such as'Tafelspitz' (Tafelspitz) and'Kaiserschmarrn' (Kaiserschmarrn ) has a deep connection with Emperor Franz Joseph.

​      Classic cuisines include Apple strudel (Apple strudel), which is equivalent to Taiwan's pineapple cake, Kaiserschmarrn (Kaiserschmarrn), the favorite of the Austrian royal family, and Germknödel, which are very common desserts. Boiled beef (Tafelspitz), schnitzel (Wiener Schnitzel) and apple pie tied for Austrian national cuisine, came to Austria can not miss these three dishes. For an introduction to Austrian cuisine, please click on the link below to read the wonderful story .      



Boiled beef


Emperor Pancake

2012 Vienna Aug 18 180.JPG

Wiener Schnitzel


Apple strudel
Apple Strudel


The world-famous Sacher cake


Sacher cake is not only a recipe for the royal family, it even caused a sensation in Austrian legal proceedings. 'Sacher cake' is a recipe of the Austrian royal family. Which Sachertart that triggered the lawsuit is the real Sacher cake?

Traditional cuisine Germknödel

​You can see this common folk delicacy from street stalls to cafes. It can be seen that this is a very common cuisine in Austria.

Royal Queen's Pastry Shop

    The development of Austrian gastronomic culture is inextricably linked to the royal family. As long as it is the royal family’s favorite food, it will soon become popular among the people. There are several pastry shops in Vienna that were once the royal family’s imperial family , and they are still popular among tourists from all over the world. There are three favorites, and their legendary stories are as follows:


Since 1786
Demer Pastry
Demel Konditorei

It used to be a popular meeting place for nobles and the Viennese bourgeoisie. It is said that Queen Sisi likes the violet ice cream of'Medel' the most. This pastry shop has also triggered lawsuits for many years.

Since 1847
Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker'Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker
The royal pastry shop is still operated by the descendants of the founder Gerstner. In the past 174 years, it has developed into a very successful and diversified enterprise and has become one of Austria's most prestigious gourmet and hotel industries.
Since 1876
Café Sacher

The father of the founder of the Sacher Hotel served the Austrian Prime Minister and invented Sacher-Torte, which led to a lawsuit with De Meer Pastry Shop

Go to read

The most spectacular cafe in Vienna

    The Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien is an art feast not to be missed when visiting Vienna. The cafe in this museum is extremely beautiful. It is located in the center of the entire museum. It is surrounded by majestic arcades and the upper dome is carved It can be regarded as the most spectacular cafe in Vienna. It is a pity that I did not come to Vienna to see its magnificence and grandeur. In addition to drinking coffee, lunch and dinner, breakfast is served here every Saturday and Sunday, which can be ordered through the official website. Please remember to buy a ticket to the Museum of Art History before entering the cafe, please go to read the full introduction    


12 companiesVienna cafe introduction

    I have visited Vienna many times, and the unique cafe culture here is the most appreciated is that the meals and pastries served in the cafe are specially made by the chefs rather than from the central kitchen or the preparation package. And each meal and dessert are unique. CaféCentral even published a book to introduce the history and recipes of the cafe. The traditional Viennese cuisine of this old restaurant has been praised by the food guide. The pastry chef of the shop starts to make bread and pastries from 3 in the morning to ensure that guests can be greeted with a hot breakfast every morning.

    Austrian cafes not only have good lighting and good atmosphere, but also provide a variety of drinks. Melange is a unique Austrian coffee, similar to cappuccino, half of it is a milder mocha, half is hot milk with milk froth on top. Einspanner is coffee with whipped cream, just like Vienna coffee in Taiwan.

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