Around the World in 80 Cups: Vienna

Writer Jason Huffnagle is traveling all across Europe, drinking coffee and sharing with us the cultures, recipes, and traditions of the beverage all across the continent. In this edition, he explores Vienna, Austria.

BY JASON HUFFNAGLE
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

Photos courtesy of Jason Huffnagle 

Catch up with this series by checking out parts onetwo, three, fourfive, and six

From the exquisite Belvedere Palace to the impressive Ringstrasse and the awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna was designed and engineered to be an impressive city. The former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has been called home by many significant figures in Western culture, including the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. Between the concerts, ballets, art exhibitions, architecture, memorials, and parks, it is impossible to see and do everything in this grand metropolis—something I have found still remains true even after visiting twice.

While quite walkable, Vienna is sprawling, so I recommend making use of its efficient and extensive underground system, the U-Bahn. With my jam-packed itinerary and a list of pre-vetted coffee shops I received in Salzburg from the owner of 220GRAD, I planned to take the city by storm.

Balthasar Kaffee Bar 

The first shop on my list was Balthasar Kaffee Bar, located across the Danube River canal from the city center in the northeastern district of Leopoldstadt. Easily accessible by the U1 line (Nestroyplatz stop), Balthasar offers impeccable espresso drinks and ample seating.

Balthasar is definitely a popular stop for the locals.

While visiting the area, you will want to take a stroll through the Augarten, the city’s second-oldest park. Done in the French Baroque style, with its long, tree-lined avenues, large ponds, numerous fountains, and elaborate flower beds, this garden also contains the Palais Augarten, which now houses a ceramics museum, and two abandoned, several-hundred-feet-high anti-aircraft fortifications (known as flak towers, or Flakturm) built by Nazi Germany following Hitler’s annexation of Austria during World War II.

Blues, golds, and whites—the interior in Balthasar is quite visually stimulating!

CaffèCouture

 Started in 2007, CaffèCouture has two shops: the original location at Garnisongasse 18 and the other just west of the Innere Stadt (Vienna’s central district). I visited the latter, which is situated in the Palais Ferstel Passage, an elegant shopping arcade that despite its proximity to some must-see sites is tucked away from the well-trodden paths of the old town and offers a peaceful respite from the city crowds. Lacking a large sign on the main street, I may have missed this shop if it were not for the smells of delicious coffee wafting out from the nondescript passage door.

As an amalgamation, CaffèCouture’s name is a mashup of the Italian word for ‘coffee’ and the French word for ‘homemade,’ respectively.

The baristas I met spoke impeccable English (and were forgiving of my less-than-adequate German) and served me a perfect flat white. While I did not have time to visit the original location, I was told it serves not only as their roastery and “showroom” for the coffee equipment they sell, but also as a venue for coffee presentations and workshops.

Once you’re inside the passage, it’s a little easier to find CaffèCouture.

From CaffèCouture’s old-town location, one can feasibly make their way to several key sites, including the Hofburg Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Kunstforum, a private art museum with impressive 20th century and modern art. On the other side of the Palais Ferstel, originally built by Heinrich von Ferstel to house the Austro-Hungarian National Bank and the Stock Exchange, you will also find Café Central, a traditional Viennese cafe whose list of past patrons has included Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky, Peter Altenberg, Theodor Herzl, and Alfred Adler, and despite being a little touristy, serves traditional Viennese fare and has live classical piano music in the evenings.

People on Coffee (POC) Café

While seemingly tucked in the wall of a 17th century church, POC does not serve its delicious brew with a side of holier-than-thou attitude that is all too common in many third-wave establishments. The owner was especially warm and eager to share some of his favorite coffee shops in Budapest, my next destination after Vienna. POC is close to Vienna’s beautiful city hall (Rathaus) and the Votivkirche, an ornate neo-Gothic church located on the Ringstrasse.

Come back soon for our next edition of Around the World in 80 Cups where we’ll take you through Budapest, Hungary! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Huffnagle is a freelance writer for Barista Magazine who has worked in coffee as a barista for six years. Having recently left his “adult job” in the U.S. Senate, the Alaska native is spending the next four months traveling throughout Europe. You can keep up with his coffee-fueled travels and other exploits by following him at @jasonhuffnagle on Twitter.

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