At the present age, the Europe coffee culture is commonly believed to be started from the country of Italy (Mikoyan 2009). Actually, coffee was first introduced to Western Europe by Vienna – the capital of Austria. Therefore, one of the most interesting things about Vienna the every tourist should know is its coffee culture. Coffee makes an important part of many people, many cultures, but it has a special place in Viennese society, in a way that hardly can be found anywhere apart from this city. “The Coffeehouse, or Kaffeehaus as they are called in German, that line the streets of the city hold centuries of history and those who live here speak of this unique culture with great pride.” (Guelly 2011). Certainly the Kaffeehaus is really distinctive and exceptional that only can be seen in the capital of Austria. As a result, in this paper, with the purpose of finding how different Viennese Coffeehouses are, I would like to discuss the uniqueness in two aspects: as a place to drink coffee and as a essential part of Viennese daily life.
2. A unique place in the city
2.1 Style of Viennese Coffeehouses
It is undeniable that Viennese Coffeehouses have their own style, but it does not mean that there is no difference among those Coffeehouses themselves. Some of the very old Viennese Coffeehouses are beautiful to witness with crystal chandeliers, plush sofas, marble-topped tables, thonet chairs, and the Historism style interior details. However, most of them are not very attractive, in fact, they are a bit shabby with large rooms, small tables, uncomfortable chairs, non-descript decór and creaky floors. These hallmarks actually make Coffeehouses feel like home for customers, but unlike home, this place gives customers the connection with people around them, as a noted writer, Alfred Polgar, said: "A coffeehouse is a place for people who want to be alone but need company to do it with." (cited in Schneider n.d.).
And what can be more wonderful than doing it in a quiet, comfortable and intellectual atmosphere that only exist in Viennese Coffeehouses, especially when it comes to comparing with noisy and crowded American-style café like Starbucks. In Vienna, the Coffeehouses are considered to be 'Gemuetlichkeit' by citizens of Vienna, meaning that it is “a comfortable, relaxed, easy-going enjoyment of life” (Mikoyan 2009).
2.2 Food and drinks in a Viennese Coffeehouse
As for people who have coffee addiction, Vienna is truly a heaven. Not only because there are hundreds of Kaffeehaus around the city, but also because of the diversity of coffee in a single Coffeehouse. They have countless variations of coffee depending on color, size, how much milk and whipped cream in it. When it comes to the color, customers can choose from “Gold” which has the color of gold, of course, to “Nusssbraun” which resembles the color of nuts. To turn to the size, there is “double” or “small” size. Then, with regard to the amount of milk and whipped cream in a cup of coffee, the most popular example is probably Melange – a less strong Mocca (espresso) with a little steamed milk, Eiskaffee is also a nice choice which is cold black coffee with vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream (Schneider n.d.). Basically, there are no limits for creation in a Kaffeehaus (“Coffee houses”, n.d., para 2).
On the other hand, coffee is not often the only thing that appears on the menu. When walking in a Kaffeehaus, the consumers can also enjoy alcohol coffee-related drinks, pastries, deserts and other beverages beside a cup of coffee (Billings 2009). In fact, guest can be served a whole meal here, which they definitely can not find from on pick up to go coffee in a Starbucks shop.
In “Viennese Coffee Culture”, Kirsten Helene Guelly claims that:
Here (Vienna), coffee is meant to be appreciated for its taste and its consumption is intended to be a relaxing experience. In America, coffee is appreciated for its caffeine...