Legend has it that Georg Franz Kolschitzky founded the first Viennese coffee house, called "Zur blaue Flasche" (The Blue Bottle Coffee House). This happened immediately after the end of the Battle of Vienna with coffee bags that were left behind. Historically proven, the first Viennese coffee house was established on the 17th of January 1685. At that time, the Armenian Johannes Deodat received the first privilege to publicly serve coffee. This took place at his home on Haarmarkt - today Rotenturmstraße 14.
In the street kitchens of Vienna hot milk was considered a staple food. Therefore, even ordinary people did not want to miss out on a stimulating coffee. And so, the “Melange” was born: a mixture of half-fortifying milk and half-invigorating coffee.
There are many rumors surrounding the glass of water that accompanies your coffee. Once it was considered a token of Oriental hospitality, then again it was thought to protect the stomach and according to a third opinion, to neutralize the taste. In fact, it had to do with the quality of the water. The Viennese coffee houses always attached importance to clean water, which earlier came from wells. The glass of clear water served as a reference - that the well was clean, and the water was pure. The custom was institutionalized with the opening of Vienna's First Mountain Spring Pipeline. And even today the Viennese are proud of their high-quality Viennese water.
The position of the Mokka (Turkish coffee) spoon is at 5 o'clock, which has nothing to do with the time. This actually refers to the right position to take hold of the spoon without having to look at it. Which of course only applies to right-handed people.
The true pleasure of the “Einspänner” lies in drinking the hot coffee through the cold whipped cream. Therefore, prior stirring is strictly prohibited. The real connoisseur and the experienced customer can be recognized by the fact that they order the coffee already sweetened - with 1, 2 or 3 spoons of sugar.
A waiter is more than just part of the serving staff at a Viennese coffee house. Well known far beyond the borders of Vienna, a real waiter personifies an essential part of the soul of the coffee house, who knows his regular guests and their wishes inside out. Partly notorious for his somewhat brittle charm, he’s a cornerstone of Viennese coffee house culture.
Shortly after the founding of the first Viennese coffee house, a shrewd coffee house owner had succumbed to the idea of serving not only physical delights - coffee and “kipferl” - but also spiritual ones. At this time, around 1700, information was sought after by everyone - traders, merchants and officials. But newspapers were scarce and expensive at the time. Then suddenly, copies were available to peruse for free at the coffee house. An ingenious business idea. So that the pages didn’t come apart, they were kept together in a frame. The newspaper holder was invented.
"Jemanden den Schani machen" is a Viennese expression that means doing the dirty work for someone else. "Schani" is the Viennese name for “Jean” or the German “Johann”. A young apprentice at a coffee house was often called "Schani", regardless of his real birth name. With the saying "Schani, trag den Garten aussi”, the apprentice was instructed every year to set the tables and chairs outside on the sidewalk to open the "Schanigarten".
In the autumn of 1806, the coffee trade was suspended due to the Continental System of the French. This meant that the sale of colonial goods, including coffee, was no longer possible. Actually, the coffee houses should have closed, but they were already a popular meeting point for society. Coffee houses without coffee were still easier to imagine than Vienna without coffee houses. That's why the coffee house owners started offering hot dishes for lunch and dinner, as well as wines from Hungary and Lower Austria. In this way, most coffee house proprietors survived the dreadful years when the word "coffee" was just a memory. The café-restaurant was created.