Vienna has a centuries old coffee house tradition which still stands today. Cafe Central, Demel, Landtmann and many more offer coffee and delicious cakes in an old world, traditional atmosphere. Frequented by the likes of Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt and Marlene Dietrich in the past, they are fantastic places to linger on any trip to Vienna.
But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about third wave coffee, passionate baristas who love their craft, flat whites, cortados and cold brews. I’m talking about independent cafes with beans sourced direct from farms around the world, often fair trade and organic, always delicious.
I was very late to the coffee scene, only taking up the habit last year. But finding the best coffee quickly became a
obsession passion. There’s no reason we can’t have delicious coffee when travelling and I’m happy to do the research to find the best coffee in Europe.
On my last two visits to Vienna I tested 10 specialty coffee shops and I have more on my list for next time.
Just a quick note that in Vienna a flat white is usually made with a double espresso topped up with frothed milk, not like how they make them in Australia.
The Best Specialty Coffee in Vienna
Vienna has a fantastic coffee scene with award winning baristas, artisan roasting and direct-trade beans. I might still be a coffee novice but I know you won’t be disappointed with these cafes. This is my guide to the best coffee in Vienna.
Top 5 – Reviewed over Multiple Trips
POC – People on Caffeine
An awesome hipster cafe (in a good way) located in a former church in the 8th district close to the Votiv Church. The barista is exceptionally friendly and will happily explain the different types of coffee and beans on offer. Their cortado is a double espresso with the same amount of milk. Amazing. There was no cold brew the day I was there but they have frappes and iced versions of all their coffees. I had my first ever espresso tonic here which, if you don’t know, is a slightly sweet iced tonic water with a shot or two of espresso. This place is tiny with only four tables but has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I love this place. For me, POC has the best coffee experience in Vienna.
I almost always stay in the 7th district when visiting Vienna and this is my regular cafe when in town. The coffee is smooth, the flat white strong. They also do one of the best cold brews in Vienna. They have tasty desserts too, in particular the cheesecake.
Wahringer Strasse 2-4
Jonas Reindl is one of the larger specialty coffee shops in Vienna with young baristas and one the most delicious, light cortado I’ve ever enjoyed. It’s very popular with the laptop crowd so get there early if you want to work. It’s a laidback cafe and the staff are more than happy for you to linger. Jonas Reindl get their coffee from Italian roastery Gardelli Specialty Coffees and this is where I buy my coffee beans. The Costa Rica and Guatemala beans are delicious. Note that payment is by cash only.
Gumpendorfer Strasse 71
I’m also a regular at the Brass Monkey where the Greek owners are super friendly and make the best flat white in Vienna. The owners will happily discuss coffee with you as well as a bit of politics or whatever else you like. The food selection is limited to cupcakes and a few other sweet things, all tasty if you have a sweet tooth.
Not your typical hipster cafe, the decor is pretty and cute and they only have a couple of tables (in their 8th district shop). But the coffee is fantastic and the barista is one of the most passionate I met in Vienna. They are obsessed with coffee and will carefully explain the differences in the beans they are using that week. The have another location in the 2nd where they do cold drip coffee. In the shop you can buy coffee beans, machines and accessories.
More Specialty Coffee – by District
Depending on where you are staying, you could also try the excellent, third wave coffee at these independent cafes.
Freyung 2 (in the arcade)
At CaffeCouture you’ll find some of the best coffee in the historic city centre. I’ve been many times and all the different coffees are excellent, especially the cold brew. They also do fantastic leaf brewed tea if you would like to skip the caffeine. A huge bonus here is the stunning location in one of the most beautiful arcades in Vienna.
One for the design lovers. Suessmun is in the historic 1st district but away from the crowds and hipsters. I was the only customer on both occasions I visited but I’d imagine it’s busier earlier in the morning when the local office workers are on their way to work. The cafe is in a beautiful setting and the delicious coffee carefully prepared.
Cafe EL.AN is in the popular 1st district but in a quiet area busy with office workers. Plenty of people stop by for takeaway coffee but there are some comfy chairs if you want to stay a while. I’ve only ever tried the cold brew here, made with the Japanese Mizudashi coffee maker by Hario. I think I’ll buy one of these next time I come across one.
Schottentor Passage 8 (in the metro station)
I was a bit against trying the coffee here as the shop is in the metro and they only offer paper takeaway cups. I don’t like to get takeaway coffee as I love the experience of sitting down and taking the time to enjoy what I’m drinking plus I dislike drinking from paper cups. Anyway, the coffee here was nice and the barista happily made me a cortado once I explained to him what it is. I wouldn’t return here knowing the brilliant Jonas Reindl and Cafe EL.AN are so close by.
Balthasar Coffee Bar
Larger than most of the independent cafes. Balthaser has a huge range of coffees and excellent, knowledgeable baristas. The cortado is the best I had in Vienna and they do a great cold drip. Some of the best third wave coffee in the 2nd district.
Kaffeefabrik is a hole in the wall cafe in the popular 4th district. There isn’t much room to take a seat but you can sit outside when the weather is good. I rate this as the best specialty coffee in the 4th district with a friendlier, more comfortable location than nearby Alt Wien Kaffee.
Alt Wien Kaffee
The baristas were taste-testing coffee while I was there so they are obviously passionate about what they’re doing. The upstairs cafe area is quite small, it resembles a bar, while downstairs is the shop selling coffee beans and gourmet groceries. The coffee here is good of course but for me they lost points because they don’t know how to make a flat white. What they call a flat white is more like a huge latte. Really huge. It reminded me of France where they traditionally drink their morning cafe au lait out of a bowl. Many of the coffees at Alt Wien are organic and fair trade which is always a bonus.
Kaffee Von Sascha
This is a very cool little shop in the 5th with a friendly barista and a great flat white. Be sure to also try the awesome homemade cheesecake. Sascha’s is the best specialty coffee in the 5th district.
Josefstädter Straße 35
Another hole in the wall type coffee shop, Kaffeemodul is probably the smallest of the specialty coffee shops in Vienna. The coffee is good and they sell beans and accessories. However, with only a small space to sit it’s not somewhere you’d go for a relaxing coffee break, grabbing a takeaway coffee might be a better option.
A larger space than most and a nice place to linger with friends. They seemed a little disorganised and slow to clean up but this is easily the best coffee in the 9th district. Not worth a special trip but grab a coffee if you’re in the area.
My (ever-expanding) list for next time:
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of these cafes, they are all doing great things. I suggest picking the cafe closest to where you are staying and one or two for when you are out exploring Vienna.
Do you know of any other specialty coffee places I’ve missed and should try next time I’m in Vienna (which will be very soon)?14