… occasionally people even drink a coffee in a coffeehouse, but that’s not the reason one goes there. – H. Weigl, Austrian writer
Vienna and her coffeehouses are inseparable. At the turn of the century, Vienna boasted over 600 coffeehouses catering to every profession, social class, and mood. Then, as today, writers, business people, students, artists, intellectuals and international guests have come to treasure their time “alone in the company of others.” One Austrian poet in the early 1900s felt so at home in his Stammcafe that he used Café Central as his return address. You’ll find Herr Altenberg sitting there still, opinion-loaded and inspiration-ready at his Stammtisch directly inside the brass doors of the marble-pillared historical gem.
But perhaps you’d prefer something more 50s style like the favored café of Thomas Bernhard (Bräunerhof)? Or maybe you’d like to contemplate dreams and the subconscious along with the memory of Sigmund Freud (Café Landtmann)? Coffeehouses vary in atmosphere and offerings. Some will have chess, piano accompaniment, or singers, some not. But no matter what coffeehouse you choose, all of them will have great coffee.
You will be able to choose from a long list of coffees, and we’re not talking regular or vanilla-flavored. Your coffee will usually come served on a silver platter with a cup of water on the side and usually – though not always – the spoon delicately balanced atop the glass. Newspapers from around the world will be hanging on a newspaper rack, available for your perusal. In attempt to guarantee your time is undisturbed, the server will skillfully ignore you and refrain from slapping down your check until you kindly request he or she do so.
In today’s world of multitasking, need-it-yesterday, working-against-the-clock, don‘t you think you deserve some balm for the soul? Allow a black coat-and-tails waiter to serve up a Mélange and afford you a few glorious hours to sit back and smell the coffee.
Can’t go to the coffeehouse? Then bring a little coffeehouse home to you – Apple Strudel recipe: http://www.kcblau.com/apfelstrudel/
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This post gives a list of coffeehouses and quotes about coffeehouses from famous Austrians: http://www.kcblau.com/coffeehouses/