Coffee Houses are one of those things closely associated with people’s image of Vienna. Over the years I’ve always tried to find space, during my trips to the city, to spend at least a little time in one or more such establishments. Now I’ve moved back to Vienna, I intend to set myself the enjoyable quest of finding my perfect Coffee House(s). Over the coming months I’ll amble through different districts seeking out places new and old to find that perfect blend of coffee, strudel, atmosphere, service and welcome.
Now I’ve long been a fan of Meinl coffee and will have to try to avoid undue biased if my search for the perfect Coffee House is to be a success. My preference for Meinl coffee has been sufficiently strong that whilst living in England, over the last four years, I have only run out of this preferred blend once.
The Viennese coffee house tradition originates from the end of the 2nd Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. The fleeing Turks left behind a range of valuables including sacks of coffee beans which were (it seems) used by a knowledgeable entrepreneur to establish the Coffee House tradition. The first formal Coffee House, however, was opened the Greek Johannes Theodat in 1685. By the year 1900 there were approximately 600 Coffee Houses in the City, alas today economic pressures mean there are far fewer true Coffee Houses.