I had the opportunity to visit Vienna (where I lived for over 14 years) again late last year and was pleasantly surprised to witness a slight surge in specialty coffee offerings, so here’s a quick guide on my top 6 from December 2022 comprising of the new and the classic ones.
Kaffein (newish) Stoss im Himmel
Researching Instagram prior to my trip I came across this coffee shop that I had never heard off before, but I could easily be forgiven as they opened just before the 2020 pandemic. Cruising through their feed I was impressed as soon as I saw that they had modbars (geek alert) I wrote about this extensively here when I visited Bath in 2018. With two locations already, I visited the site at because it was the only one open over the Christmas period plus it was around the corner from where my family and I used to visit the English cinema, Artis.
As you enter, there’s a long corridor dotted with seating before you enter the brewing bar to your left, decked with two modbars and a filter brewing station. The decor is wood throughout with quirky bits.
I went twice, first by myself and my daughter joined, where I tried a natural Peru made by the Greek barista and a second time with my sister, where we had a French Pear tart, met the roaster and enjoyed cappuccinos too.
From my observation, everything is done in-house from roasting their coffee, selling bags (I bought a bag) and of course brewing it with keen attention to detail – including their food, which tends to be homemade non-meat pasta and more together with a strong affinity for French style cakes and tarts – so you can really escape here as although you might be in Vienna you will be served with specialty coffee and French and Italian inspired cuisine.
So why go? Great coffee, French inspired desserts and good friendly customer service.
Fenster Café (newish) Greichengasse – 1st district
Prior to my trip, my brother had shared their Instagram profile with me and of course I raised an eyebrow when their tagline said “the best coffee in the World” as I personally think that is very subjective, given brewing styles, roasting styles, customer base, etc. Located about 2 minutes’ walk from Schwedenplatz underground station (take the Rotenturm Strasse exit and then turn left and walk up the stairs) – Fenster Café is literally a hole in the wall coffee stop – there’s likely to be a queue mainly of Tourist, based on their marketing so prepare yourself.
They mainly focus on espresso-based coffee with some house specialities which feature flavourings – their most famous one is the Fensterccino, labelled as the most expensive coffee in Vienna at 9.5 Euros – why? because they pour latte art into a cappuccino in an ice cream cone – you’ve got to give it to them for marketing. I had a flat white to go.
So why go? Instagram pic fensterccino an to get a quici coffee on the go
Caffe Couture (classic), Freyung 1st district
Rushing around the centre of Vienna I found myself craving espresso-based milk coffee and went to where I know I wouldn’t be disappointed, Caffe Couture. I’ve written about them a few times as they were one of the very first specialty coffee shops in Vienna upon my return in 2012. I was pleasantly surprised to see George Brany himself – the owner and former Austrian latte art champion in 2011, as I know he has been behind the scenes for a long while. Not losing his touch I see, I ordered a flat white on their Synesso espresso machine.
So, why go? One of the first specialty coffee shops in Vienna, so they won’t disappoint – they also serve filter coffee and sell their coffee too.
Jonas Reindl (Classic fave) schonttenor
I’ve been here many times and I must confess although I was in Vienna for two weeks and lived very far from the centre I came here, not once, but thrice – great for meetings and also because they didn’t close during the Christmas break – opening even on Christmas day itself. They roast their own coffee, source exciting coffee, have a very non-Viennese setup think NYC or London, offering Anglo-Saxon inspired cakes too (Cheesecake, etc) plus it’s where the university and solopreneurs tend to hang out – so it has a kind of col vibe appealing a lot to the youth and older ones too – so don’t be shocked if you can’t find a seat.
About the coffee – it’s always good, brewed on a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle (the first in Vienna I think) – had a cortado the first time and a great filter the second time and a cappuccino the last time. I also bought coffee for my fellow coffee geek in Dubai and had to hold myself back from buying more.
So, why go? Lots of reasons, cool vibe, cakes and of course great coffee in Vienna prepared with detail
Balthasar (classic fave) Prater Strasse 2nd district next to nestroyplatz
Well, I couldn’t come to Vienna and not stop here. I actually went by twice but on the first occasion it was so packed I had to leave as I don’t like drinking my coffee standing up in the middle of a shop like a sour thumb. The second time I met a friend and we just found seats. He went for a cappuccino, and I had a filter brew poured by their filter brew maestro. Most of the barista expect one have left so I was pleased to have a brief chat with Owen but pleased to see that the place was buzzing.
So, why go? Coffee focused staff serving their own coffee that you can buy too. They also sell gadgets and filter accessories.
Offerl Bakery (newish) Wollzeile 31, 1st district
I actually happened to stop by this place as I was craving a snack to eat with my daughter. It is famous as a bakery offering a slightly different twist on their baked goods than the traditional Viennese versions, so expect English style doughnuts and French inspired quiche together with sandwiches.
There is a place to sit down inside along their concrete inspired décor with their open bakery on the left too. I tied their organic focused coffee, opting for a cortado, which satisfied my craving – more on the dark roasted bias but it did the job. They also sell their coffee.
So, why go? Grab great bread and pastries with a cup of coffee on the go.