Modern coffee culture in Vienna

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A modern coffee culture is starting to emerge in Vienna, due in large part, to the efforts of Johanna at the Vienna School of Coffee. Johanna is passionate about specialty coffee and imparting all she knows to those who are keen to learn. With Joanna’s advice and a copy of the Vienna Guide to Coffee, we headed off to find the places that are setting new trends.

Exuding a wholesome approach to coffee and all things fresh, sustainable and fair is Akrap Coffee, where we enjoyed two perfect piccolo lattes. Through their use of quality, fairly traded coffee, the boys at Akrap Coffee say their aim is to change the lives of farmers while brightening up the day for their customers. Take Ubahn 2 (that’s the Vienna underground train) to find Akrap on the corner of Theobaldgasse and Königsklostergasse in the Museumsquartier.

POC, which cleverly stands for ‘people on caffeine’, is where latte art and flat whites were introduced to Vienna. On the day we were there, straight after the World of Coffee barista party, the place was filled with weary partygoers from all over the world in search of caffeine. Our piccolos were perfect with latte art designs – despite the fact that the barista was obviously one of the partygoers. You will find POC by taking the Ubahn 2 to the Rathaus stop. It can be found on Schlosselgasse 21 in a nook on the side of a church.

Kaffeemodul is what is affectionately known in the coffee industry as a ‘hole in the wall’. The owner has maximized the use of space with neat little ‘tables’ and ‘seats’ that can be flipped down from the wall – and flipped up when space is tight. It had only been open for less than a week and the young owner was keen to impress us with two fine espressos. You will find this wonderful little café with its distinctive blue and white branding at Josefstadter Strasse 35.

A lively place with a difference is Caffe Couture. It showcases the latest La Marzocco equipment and specialises in coffee cocktails, some of which might be considered modern versions of traditional recipes – especially those with orange and lashings of cream. The owner bravely asks his customers to pay whatever they believe their coffee experience is worth. It’s a concept that works as we enjoyed out experience so much, we certainly paid more than standard menu prices. Take the U-bahn 2 to the Schottentor stop and find your way to Garnisongasse 18.

Whatever city you go to in the world, you’ll inevitably find the grungy café. In Vienna this café is simply called ‘Espresso’. It’s retro style all the way with its shabby 60’s furniture and Faema E61 to match. But the coffee is good and you can drink it standing at the bar, Italian style. It’s at Burgasse 57 near the Ubahn Volkstheatre stop.

On the other hand, if it’s sheer luxury you’re after, you can’t go past Café DreshlerDrechsler, designed by the famous British chef, Terence Conran. As a 21st century take on the traditional Viennese coffee house, it has the arched ceiling and wood-panelled walls but in tones of soft beige - with a splash of red in the leather upholstery. True to Viennese tradition, the menu is full of milky and creamy concoctions but with all the modern espresso options. Untrue to Viennese tradition, ‘though, the piano music has been replaced by live DJ music late into the evenings. It’s open around the clock and you’ll find it on the corner of Links Wienzeile and
Girardigasse on the Naschmarkt.