Although Vienna is renowned for its traditional coffee house culture, a heritage built on tuxedo-clad waiters and antiquated ideas, in recent years, there has been a surge of coffee shops opening up whose philosophies break away from convention. Known as ‘third wave coffee shops’, this movement is dedicated to bringing customers artisan coffee in a hip setting. Vienna’s timeless and sophisticated venues shouldn’t go amiss, but here are some of the best new digs to try out.
People On Caffeine
Cafe, Contemporary, Austrian, $$$
This tiny coffee shop, often shortened to POC, hasn’t the space to accommodate too many people, but its modest size only adds to its appeal. Tucked away in an old church in Vienna’s 8th district, this unique cafe has an intimate and ambient atmosphere. Most importantly, it serves excellent artisan coffee and cake. One of the city’s ‘third wave coffee bars’, POC manages the difficult task of being simultaneously stylish and unpretentious.
Compact, tidy and clean, the interior of Kaffeemik is decked out in white and blue tiles with simple yet elegant furniture. With ideas to revolutionise Vienna’s antiquated coffee culture, this forward-thinking establishment serves lots of modern variations, including the (relatively) recently introduced flat white. The coffee is of an exceedingly high standard and sourced from a small-scale European roastery.
Despite the fact that Café Espresso first opened its doors in 2004, there is a distinct 1950s vibe to its interior. It has a relaxed ambiance that will draw you in and a great selection of ‘cult coffees’ – including a wide variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, from vanilla lattes, white hot chocolates and carajillos (espressos with Spanish brandy) to the more traditional Viennese favourites.
Situated in the newly gentrified 2nd district of Vienna, Leopoldstadt, this innovative and chic cafe has a clean and uncomplicated feel, making it reassuringly clear that they are focused on the art of coffee alone. The interior is elegant and thoughtfully designed, with smooth grey walls and a few unusual and intriguing features, such as the golden, crinkly light shades that hang above the counter. With cheerful and attentive staff and coffee with a strong yet smooth taste, this isn’t one to be missed.
This conscientious coffee shop knows the intricate details behind the art of making coffee – from the roasting to the drinking. All besides one blend, the shop imports all their goods from a handpicked selection of producers and cooperatives, meaning you can rest assured that your brew has been ethically sourced.
This modest coffee house, incidentally Vienna’s smallest, is very noble about its craft, with their website proclaiming they serve ‘coffee and nothing else’. The interior is simple and refined, with a blackboard detailing their simple menu with no hint of any fancy American-ised drinks. The cafe collaborates with Quijote Kaffee, a Hamburg-based direct-import roastery and on occasion, selected guest roasters.
This micro-roastery was founded in 2014 by Nikolaus Hartman, who has a great passion for sourcing the very best beans for his blend. The Süssmund Kaffeebar in the Old Post Office is a hip venue with an elegant layout made up of white and baby blue walls and chipboard flooring. Its minimal appearance is perhaps a nod to what really matters – the quality of the drink itself. The coffee is ethically sourced with the company paying close attention to the processing and cooperation with farmers.
There are two different types of blends available at Café EL.AN, one from Brazil and one from Costa Rica, and both are equally delicious. This calm, cosy and unpretentious joint in the 1st district was set up by two coffee enthusiasts, Elke and Anna, who have a passion for the world of caffeine.
Located on one of Vienna’s most trendy streets in the 7th district, Kirchengasse, Fürth Kaffee sells single origin, 100% Arabica coffee beans, with each being ‘traceable to its original location’. The aromas of all the different exotic blends are sure to entice any coffee lover and there is, of course, the chance to sample the freshly roasted blend.
In the backstreets of Vienna’s famously tourist-filled neighbourhood of Hietzing, home to both the Schönbrunn Palace and the city zoo, Waldemar is a departure from traditional cafes with their strict formalities and dainty cakes. The interior is minimally modernist with italic neon lettering on concrete walls and thoughtful details, such as jugs of tap water on the tables laced with mint or stems of rhubarb. The menu follows suit when it comes to contemporary vibes, with a weekend special of pancakes with maple syrup, berries and Greek yogurt.
Furnished in an industrial style – with raw-brick walls, grey concrete floors and simple seating – Zweitbester is a far cry from the cosy warmth of traditional coffee houses. Nevertheless, the ambiance is comfortable and unique. The dishes are fresh, created using organic vegetables, regional meats and bread from an organic bakery and guests have the option of either a daily curated menu or a fixed menu, as well as a sustainable and tasty brunch served until 2 pm on weekends.
If enjoying a coffee in Das Augustin, you may be in the company of one of the handsome cats that can be seen proudly prowling around. This cafe, in the lesser-known 15th district, is the epitome of homely, with a sleepy atmosphere and squishy armchairs that you can sink into while you enjoy an extended brunch. The simple fried potatoes make a delicious Sunday snack and the chai latte, a comforting combination of cardamom, vanilla pod, cinnamon and organic milk, is highly recommended.