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Coffeehouses in Vienna - an old tradition

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History of the Coffeehouse (Kaffeehaus) in Vienna

The Viennese coffeehouse-tradition goes back to the year 1683 when the Turks besieged Vienna. Georg Franz Kolschitzky (* 1640 in Poland, 20.2.1694 in Vienna) and working as translator for the oriental trading company in Belgrado, who knew Turk language went through enemy lines to Poland's king Sobiesky who sent army to free Vienna. The Turks fled off head over heels. As rescuer of Vienna he had first choice of booty. He left gold, weapons and other goodies. He only was interested in sacks of brown beans nobody wanted. Kolschitzky knew about from his travels to Turkey.
Turks at Vienna 1683 - Vienna archive (20558 bytes)
Turks 1683 at Vienna

Later he opened one of the first coffeehouses in Vienna (1686) named 'to blue bottle' ('Zur blauen Flasche') - the basis of the old tradition. The fist documented founding of a coffeehouse was in January,17 1685 when the Greek Johannes Theodat (Diodato) in his livinghouse at Haarmarkt, today Rotenturmstrasse 14, opened his coffeehouse. He held a 'Privileg' (what a licence was called this time) for retail of coffee. Until 1700 there were 4 more licences by Kaiser Leopold I. 1804 there were already 89 coffeehouses and after Vienna congress (1814/15) there were 150 Cafes and around 1900 the number increased to about 600.

The typical offer was coffee-specialities, cacao, tea, milk, chocolate, mineralwater, imonade, icecream, wine, spirits and liqueur.

From the beginning only men went to coffeehouses. Around 1870 it was up-to-date to go to coffeehouse with the family. Even lady's parlors were opened. In the sequel new types of coffeehouses developed: Kaffee-Konditorei (with bakery), Espresso und Cafe-Restaurant. During 1938 there were 1283 coffeehouses, the number decreased to 584 in 1994 plus 705 Cafe-Restaurant, 182 Cafe-Konditorei und 1083 Espresso.ober.gif (1874 bytes)

Although the situation of Coffeehouses nowadays is better than other branches, Coffeehouses have a successor-problem. A succession nessecitates a revision, what is an expensive procedure. Moreover the landlord may raise rent to a standard. These high costs for rent may be payable for fastfood-restaurants. But these fix expenses, not to forget costs for employees (waiter and waitress), cannot be payed with 1 Melange, 2 glasses of water and 3 newspapers in 4 hours. For New Yorkers it may be not unusual that after the last sip the bill is presented, but in Vienna this kind of 'kickout' is not imaginable! This problem is especially vacant for big coffeehouses with quite low sales per sqm. The Cafe Haag and Englaender does not exist, the Florianihof is closed, the Braeunerhof is in economic crises - is the coffe house as typical viennese 'institution' out? But Hans Diglas, speaker of coffeehouse-concessioners, said, that there is no crises (1998). Now there are taxual easements for successions and inheritance.

Viennese Coffee-Specialities

Variations of that drink how it is served in Vienna. Only strangers order simply COFFEE, the knowing orders precisely.

Mokka or Schwarzer

Coffee MokkaSmall or big Mokka. Pure coffee with creme without milk.

Doppelmokka or Mokka gespritzt

Mokka with brandy


KaffeeMokka with much water


Double Mokka with much cream (Schlagobers - only germans say Sahne).


Mokka strained


Big or small Brauner. Schwarzer with milk.


Brauner with not little milk.


Brauner with much milk.

Kleiner Brauner

Double portion pure coffee served with cream, good brown.


MelangePure coffee with effervesced milk and chocolate.


Coffee FiakerPowdered sugar and cherrybrandy heated, double Espresso with much cream, cherry on top.

Maria Theresia

Big Mokka with Orange-liqueur, powdered sugar, cream and coloured pieces of sugar.


Sugar, cacao-powder, rum heated, double Mokka, cream, cinnamon and rubbered lemon

History of coffee
Production of coffee
Cooking: how to do coffee brewing
Food and drinks in a coffeehouse
Nonsense to coffee

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