92 percent of Austrians drink coffee

While Brits are known for drinking tea, a new survey released Tuesday shows that Austrians just love their coffee.

92 percent of Austrians drink coffee
Photo: APA/dpa

92 percent of Austrians are coffee drinkers, with three-quarters having one or more cups every day. This revelation comes from an online survey by market researcher MindTake Research with around 500 participants aged 15 to 69 years.

Coffee and Vienna both have a long mutual history, with tradition suggesting that the world's first coffee house was founded in Vienna by an Armenian merchant named Johannes Theodat in 1685. Surprisingly, given its long tradition of cafe culture, most coffee is drunk at home (88 percent).

Italians may be surprised to learn that Austrians drink more coffee per head of population than their southern neighbours.  Sadly, this only puts them in 11th place in the world coffee consumers, with first-placed Finland drinking almost double the amount of Austrians.

Nine out of ten respondents take their coffee in the workplace.  In 36 percent of Austrian businesses, coffee is provided by the employer free of charge, according to the press release from MindTake Research.
41 per cent like to drink their cup of java in cafes or restaurants. Around a quarter prefer Cappuccino, while 14 percent each order a Verlängerter or Latte Macchiato. The latter is particularly popular among women (21 percent, with only six percent of men indulging.)
Men tend to prefer a Kleinen Schwarzen (12 percent) or Großen Schwarzen (11 percent, which is popular with only six percent of women).
In Austrian households 29 percent prefer the capsule coffee machine, followed by 26 percent whose coffee comes from automatic coffee maker (the Vollautomat). 
Around 14 percent like the filter coffee maker, while 12 percent use a Percolator – or automatic drip coffee maker (the Kaffee-Pad-Maschine). 12 percent remain loyal to the classic Espresso from the Espresso machine.  
True purists, such as those from Italy, will use a French Press.  They also never drink Cappuccino after 11am, and never allow coffee to fit in anything larger than an Espresso cup.
Guide to ordering coffee
First, you should know that you can't simply order 'a coffee' in Austria. Tourists attempting to do so will earn a derisive sneer worthy of a Parisian waiter, because coffee exists in more than a dozen variations, even in the smallest cafes.
Coffee beans in Austria are typically roasted until they are very dark, almost black. This is called the "Italian" or "French roast" and is the most common colour for coffee beans. Here's a list of the more common varieties from an Austrian tourist site, so you know what to expect.

Cappuccino: What is sold in Austria under that name is NOT the Italian (thus not the international) version of a cappuccino, but a regional variation made from coffee and whipped cream rather than frothed milk.

Einspänner: Strong, black coffee typically served in a high glass with a dash of whipped cream.

Eiskaffee: Cold coffee with vanilla ice cream, chocolate and whipped cream – served typically in the summer months, and ideal for the hot season. Only ice tea is more refreshing.

Fiaker: Named after horse-and-carriages, the Fiaker is a not-so-common coffee with a shot of Austrian rum and whipped cream.

Kleiner Brauner and Großer Brauner: Means "little brown one" or "large brown one" and comes close to what people consider to be ordinary coffee: black with a bit of milk, yet typically not filtered, but steamed like espresso.

Konsul: An even less common creation than the Fiaker, a black coffee with a small spot of unwhipped cream.

Kurzer or Espresso: In recent years the Austrian term "Kurzer" (meaning "short one") has begun to disappear and these days, the international "Espresso" is more commonly found on menus.

Mazagran: A cold Fiaker-variation, coffee, ice, a shot of rum – and possibly a bit of sugar. A wonderful boost of refreshing energy in the summer.

Melange: The king of coffee, a mix of frothed milk and steamed coffee similar to the Italian cappuccino, but consumed at any time of the day.

Milchkaffee or Café Latte: A large coffee with frothed milk, has been around for a long time, but recently gained popularity probably due to its fancy Italian name that sounds much cooler than "Milchkaffee".

Schwarzer or Mokka: Strong, black coffee, normally consumed with a lot of sugar, but served without.

Türkischer: Meaning "Turkish one" and it's just that – finely ground coffee boiled for a long time in water, sugar is added and it is served as a very hot, strong coffee with the grains still in the cup.

Verlängerter: A diluted and thus weaker but larger version of the Großer Brauner, typically served with milk. Means "extended one".

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Every fourth Vienna cafe ‘forced to close’

Vienna is famous for its coffee house culture, which has even been recognised by Unesco as part of Austria’s cultural heritage, but many of its cafes are struggling to survive.

Every fourth Vienna cafe 'forced to close'
Vienna's Café Bräunerhof. Photo: Andreas Praefcke/Wikipedia

Every year one in four cafes is forced to close, according to new figures from the Vienna Chamber of Commerce.

Berndt Querfeld, who owns the historic Cafe Landtmann on the Ringstrasse and represents coffee houses in the Chamber of Commerce told the Kurier newspaper that the majority of the 2,500 coffee houses in Vienna are finding it hard to make ends meet. “The ones that are doing best are the around 120 or 130 historic coffee houses in the most favourable locations,” he said.

However, despite some cafes having to close up shop the total number of coffee houses remains around the same because of the relatively high number of new cafes opening each year. “Many of these only last for about six months,” Querfeld said. He added that newcomers on the scene underestimate the challenges that lie ahead, and some simply close down their business to avoid paying a high tax bill.

According to Querfeld some of the reasons why cafes are suffering are the stricter rules regarding non-smoking areas, the new EU law which means they have to label all ingredients that contain allergens, and the introduction of compulsory cash registers as part of the tax reform.

The economic crisis has made punters behave more frugally when visiting a coffee house. “More often than not a customer will order a piece of cake with a second fork for their companion. It’s even becoming a rather chic thing to do.”

Slot machines have also been banned from cafes recently, and Querfeld believes that this is putting many smaller cafes in less central locations out of business. “If they had a slot machine or two they could afford to sell snacks and drinks at lower prices, but this isn’t the case anymore.”

The heyday of the Vienna coffee house was the turn of the 19th century when they were frequented by well-known writers, artists and politicians. Many famous Viennese cafes had to close in the 1950s due to the popularity of television and new espresso bars.

READ MORE: Five unusual cafes not to miss in Vienna