Specialty and third wave coffee is conquering the world, one bean at a time. What the hell is it? Well, it’s when coffee goes artisanal, beans of the highest standard are used, baristas are artists frothing milk to a creamy perfection, and coffee drinkers are connoisseurs.
The wave has hit Vienna in a big way in recent years, cheekily lecturing the city with its old and famous coffee culture on what a coffee is supposed to taste like. We hit the streets, drank a thousand coffees (and therefore were briefly admitted to a psych ward when trying to climb Stephansdom) to bring you this list of 13 cafés where to get your specialty coffee in Vienna.
Opening times MON–FRI: 7:30am–5:30pm SAT: 10am–14pm SUN: closed
“The secret to a good Flat White? Good coffee and well frothed milk,” Valentin simply puts it in a no-bullshit kind of way. Only a modest natural can understate the skill behind the exceptionally good coffee he’s just whipped up for us. The coffee is so good here, coffee nerds seek this place out. One such nerd enters while we’re there and tells us, “You can’t get much better than this when it comes to coffee in this city.” The two guys behind Kaffeemodul, Valentin and Boris, opened this coffee spitting shoebox of a place up in 2012 and have had a steady stream of caffeine craving regulars popping in – and a few minutes later – popping out with coffee in hand, ever since. There’s hardly enough space to stay anyway, as the place is as big as a chicken coop, but its coffee’s so good, you’ll see people crowing like roosters on their way out. They source their beans mainly from the direct trade German Roaster, Quijote, and stock and serve a variety of different kinds, from fruity, to kräftig (strong) to filtered. They also sell all the filters, grinders and other coffee paraphernalia. And while Valentin consecutively wins himself prizes at the Brewers Cup (2nd prize in 2015), he says him and Boris are always looking for ways to improve their quality. “There’s plenty of cafés that sell everything you can think of, but here we just do coffee and we’re constantly on the look out for new small suppliers, and ways to improve our standards,” Valentin says. They know their coffee here, so if you’re a Third Wave Coffee virgin, just ask for help and they’ll introduce you to your own bean and coffee style preference (sexual innuendo unintended … we think).
Coffee guru, Amar Ca, says: My favourite here is the Espresso. You can decide whether you want to follow the new “light roast” trend, or if you just want to enjoy the classic medium roast. The two will always make sure you find something you like.
Opening times MON–FRI: 7:30am–10pm SAT: 9:30am–10pm SUN: 10:30am–6pm
Jonas Reindl is a hip, and despite its cosiness, very vibrant coffee shop. Lots of young people find their way here in a break between classes at the nearby university, but the great location also brings walk-in customers, tourists and other randoms. Owner Philip Feyer has traveled to Nicaragua, to see for himself what the conditions on the farm level are like. A partner of his, who made such an adventure possible, is the Austrian Ulrich Salamun. He has been living in Nicaragua for over 15 years and is the founder of the company Biosfair Agroexport. Feyer is proud of this direct trade project that allows him to transparently guarantee not only the highest quality of coffee but sustainable agriculture as well. While chatting with him, we completely forget that there’s a world beyond coffee. This floating feeling might also come from the perfectly fitting Flat White – two shots of espresso topped with just the right amount of milk to make our insides hum.
Opening times MON–FRI: 8am–6pm SAT: 10am–6pm SUN: 12pm–6pm
Small, neat and pure looking – kaffemik has light blue and white tiles and a clean interior. The small shop doesn’t overdo with the decor and furniture, yet exceed in their coffee skills. The people behind kaffeemik are a group of friends that realised their long-held dream to revive Vienna’s dormant coffee taste buds, with high-quality coffee sourced from small European roasters. We try as much coffee as Simon serves up until we can’t hold the cup anymore in our shaking hands. The milky variations, like the Cappuccino and Flat White are creamy, with that sweet and bitter coffee taste in the middle. We’re still walking on clouds hours later, wide-eyed from the great taste and the coffee’s ability to make us feel like the most amazing person in the world. We’ll surely be seen at kaffeemik again, next time going for the filter coffee –the underrated achiever in the coffee crowd when it comes to depth in flavour and value, according to Simon.
We are impressed… by the amount of people walking in during our visit. We love… their company name – “A bunch of nerds KG”
Atmosphere: Service: Value for money: Coffee:
Coffee guru, Amar Ca, says: Simon always has a surprise. The coffees are regularly supplied by different roasters, and so there’s the chance that you’ll come across something different every time. My favourite here is definitely the V60 pour over coffee.
Opening times TUE–FRI: 9am–6pm SAT–SUN: 10am–7pm MON: closed
Fürth Kaffee is one of Vienna’s few coffee roasters, and they also have crazy good Third Wave Coffee skills. While also offering the coffee to taste at the shop in Kirchengasse, Charles Fürth is selling his own roasts not only to individuals with a passion for quality coffee, but also to gastronomy clients who understand the importance of offering high-end beans to their customers.
The café, which is called Cafe Comet, is a sales platform, a showroom and a packing station. The coffee beans are filled and packaged at the café by the members of the team, after finding their way here from Fürth’s roast house in Lower Austria.
Inspired by finding a new purpose in life after 20 years of ad film production, and by the concept of helping farmers through direct trade, Charles spent more than 3 years perfecting his coffee skills through workshops in England, reading a lot of books and ensuring his first coffee he was serving the best coffee he could, from the first coffee he sold.
We try the Espresso Macchiato – it makes our mouth water and hair curl just looking at it. After the first sip, we don’t want to ever spend another day without this coffee.
Almost 200 years ago, Beethoven’s body was waiting here for its journey six feet under. In this former funeral parlour of the Dreifaltigkeitskirche in Vienna’s 8th district, Robert has built his small kingdom of coffee that he calls POC (People On Caffeine). Fortunately, today instead of decomposing composers, it features great coffee. POC reminds me of the rustic charm of my grandfather’s workshop – everything seems a bit chaotic and improvised, all working surfaces and shelves are full of coffee accessories. But it’s chaos of a comforting nature. The small seating area with two tables blends seamlessly into the coffee kitchen. Two espresso machines from La Marzocco are employed, one for the everyday work, the other specifically setup to take on those experienced tastebuds of coffee nerds. A second room is due to open in spring, which will be furnished mostly with bar tables for the upright intake of coffee.
Price guide Espresso = 1.80€ Cappuchino = 2.50€ Coffee to Go = 2.00€
Opening times MON–FRI: 8:30am–5pm (July to September: MON–FRI: 8:30am–3pm) SAT–SUN: closed
CaffèCouture’s showroom/roasting lab in Vienna’s 9th opened 5 years ago, showing off La Marzocco’s latest coffee equipment, as well as serving seasonal specialty coffees to take home with you, or enjoy at the café. The owner, Georg Branny, is not only a very talented barista with endless knowledge and skills that wins awards, he’s also a coffee entertainer, with a talent for coffee-based cocktails. Their second shop in the 1st district’s Palais Ferstel Passage, opened in September 2013. They have their own 100%-arabica-roast and a seasonal blend mixing 3 different sorts, directly obtained from farmers. The quality of the beans, the roasting and the skilful preparation are noticeable in every sip. And while we enjoy our Espresso, we watch people passing by outside, admiring the Parisian feeling of the neat 1st district passageway.
Opening times MON–FRI: 7:30am–7pm SAT: 9am–5pm SUN: closed
Gentle Italian music charms your ears at Café Balthasar in Vienna’s 2nd district, while the warm interior takes care of the rest; its rough pastel-specked walls, blue and white mosaic counter and hardwood floors makes it a place you’ll want to stop for a while and drink coffee after coffee until you go owl-eyed. ‘La Marzocco’ is the beast of a coffee machine boldly straddling the counter like it owns it, while nine times out of ten, right next to it you’ll find Otto Bayer, a former star chef from Tyrol turned barista heavyweight, now serving up sustainable fair-trade coffee out of Kenya, Ethiopia and Brazil, with beans roasted by a artisan German company. The Kleiner Brauner is strong, without bitterness, yet smooth – putting your head in the right place. From slowly filtered, to finely aerated flat whites are created here. You can tell Otto knows his shiny coffee machine, as intimately as his own bellybutton.
Price guide Espresso = 1.90€ (doppio 2.80€) Kleiner Brauner = 2.20€ Flat White = 3.60€ Extra shot = 1€
We love… the naked walls mixing with the cautiously colourful chairs. We admire… how Otto seems to handle the whole café by himself and still has the calmness to go out for a smoke.
Atmosphere: Service: Value for money: Coffee:
Coffee guru, Amar Ca, says: This place has so much style, you’re almost forced to order a elegant macchiato. But, Otto has a better surprise – the “Cold Brew”. Cold brew coffee is simply brewed in cold water for several hours. The results are amazingly complex – a nectar-like drink with highly developed aromas. In summer, there is no better alternative, as the garden from Otto offers the perfect location to enjoy a cold brew.
Opening times MON–FRI: 8am–6pm SAT: 11am–5pm SUN: closed
One of the smallest of Vienna’s specialty coffee shops is also the only representative in the 4th district – Kaffeefabrik opened four years ago, preparing coffee that makes you weak at the knees, and also selling their lovely, bubbly beans that are acquired directly from farmers in South America, Africa and India, and roasted in their small outpost in Burgenland. The size of the shop makes it very homey, though the lack of places to sit might make you leave a tad bit more soon than anticipated. But we’re sure that as soon as the sun shines warm enough, their chairs and tables situated out front on a big stretch of sidewalk will make up for that. The coffee goes down smoothly while I sit at the white metal chairs and chat with the barista. We’re almost inhaling the first shot and order another straight away.
Opening times MON–FRI: 8am–6pm SUN & public holidays: 9am–3pm
Some people are annoyed by by the busy, bustling Coffee Pirates in Spitalgasse. In our opinion, these freebooters are so good at what they do, and how they present themselves, that you get the feeling they deprive you from your god given right to criticise. The carefully made coffee is close to perfection, and the place is one that screams ‘hang-out spot!’ – a grand, bright public living-room, offering a colourful mix of different seating areas (festive wooden table vs. window bar vs. cosy lounge area). It’s also one of the few coffee places, that do their own roasting, and boy, do they know how to roast! When Coffee Pirates’ co-captains Werner and Evelyn talk about their trade, they tell you vivid tales of their coffee-hunting trips around the world, and how they carefully select each direct and fairly-traded bean variant they have on offer. We even got a glimpse at their roast-curve-treasure-maps.
Their Coffee Speciality: the brew of the day – a speciality single origin coffee prepared in a Chemex filter, Aeropress or a drip decanter.
Price guide Espresso = 2 € (2.70 € double) Kleiner Brauner = 2.40 € Flat White = 3.00 € 250g bag of their roast = 7,90 € – 12,90 €
We love… the details – from the coffee sacks lying around everywhere to the wooden cabins that hide the toilets. And the fact that they now offer brunch on weekends (be sure to make a reservation).
Atmosphere: Service: Value for money: Coffee:
Coffee guru, Amar Ca, says: The Coffee Pirates offer an all-round experience. Werner carefully roasts coffee in the background, while Evelyn and her team prepare perfect cappuccinos. They also started serving a brilliant breakfast menu on the weekend. Thus, my favourite here is brunch with a cappuccino.
The owners and baristas, Elke and Anna (EL.AN – get it?), are as sweet and smooth talking as their coffee, which they source from CafféCouture owner and veteran coffee sommelier, Georg Branny. Coffee is the main focus here, with two different espresso roasts always on offer. Upon our visit they had a balanced Brazilian blend with bittersweet hints of cocoa, and another intense and fruity Arabica out of Costa Rica. You can choose from a variety of state-of-the-art brewing techniques – from the good old Espresso machine, the slow-drip filter coffee, to the AeroPress – a penis-pump-like interpretation of the French press – and the Siphon Pot – which looks like some high-tech lab tool you could use to synthesise crystal meth. But rather than lose your teeth and develop a nervous twitch that makes you constantly yell ‘bitch!’ the coffee will tamper with your taste buds like top-notch coffee should when made by third-wave coffee scientists. When it comes to the interior, the place practices in the art of calm café Zen. Less is more, and seating is well spaced and minimal, meaning three things – coffee to go is popular here, it’s not easy to bag a table, and you have plenty of space to relax amongst the cushions at your funky table propped up by rusted steel rods.
GOTA Coffee Experts are taking care of the young and hip crowd in the outer 15th district with their supreme coffee creations. Katharina and her brother, who grew up in the 15th, plus her husband Junior, who grew up around coffee plantations in Peru, opened the small shop on the small square next to the market square, Schwendermarkt, earlier in 2017.
To gradually get people used to the new taste of coffee, their house roast (they roast it in Fürth Kaffee’s roasting house close to Vienna) is still a medium roast at the moment – fruity, but also of the chocolatey variety. They hope to switch to the lighter side soon. They also serve and sell different beans from The Barn Berlin.
The interior is very comfy with a clean look, and in summer, they have tables and chairs out front with a nice view of the Schwendermarkt market square. You will also find small snacks to eat, plus on the weekend, Peruvian breakfast is served, as well as bread with scrambled eggs and a selection of trending breakfast variations.
For the inner district people it might seem a bit far off, but it is definitely worth a visit. And for everyone else living outside the Gürtel anyway, this should become your new regular coffee dealer.
Since selling his first specialty cafe Kaffee von Sascha, Oleksandr “Sascha” Iamkovy, opened a itty bitty new place int he heart of the city.
The special thing about the place? The name says it all. Fenster Cafe means Window Cafe, and this place is indeed, not much more than a window. Behind it, you will find a happy Sascha smiling at you, taking your coffee orders. The menu has the specialty favourites, alongside original creations like a ‘marshmallowccino’ and a ‘cornettoccino’ (a coffee served in an ice cream waffle). Not to mention his glorious 95 cent espresso – a cheap and rare find in Vienna.
He currently sources his beans from all over – from Indonesia to roasters like Lot Sixty One from Amsterdam and Alexandru Niculae, the World Coffee Roasting Champion of 2016.
Opening times TUE–FRI: 8am–7pm SAT: 11am–6pm SUN–MON: closed
Integrated into the hipster clothing store QWSTION on the corner of Westbahnstraße and Zieglergasse, Wolfang Coffee is serving specialty bean coffee to the 7th district crowd. The stylish interior is minimalistic, yet very inviting to sit down for a while and watch other people shop.
If you’re a specialty coffee pro already, you will find everything you need here, whether it’s a darker, more chocolatey bean variety, or a lighter, more fruity one – whatever you’re into. Their classic roast “Leitwolf” is hand-roasted by the bean brand, Wildkaffee, and is an El Salvador/Brazil/Guatemala blend (a more chocolatey variety). But you can also go for a more fruity and light roasted one from Süssmund. You will also find a variety of filter coffees that will be prepared to your preferences, as well as a selection of cakes and pastries to accompany your drink.