Then come to Austria. In a hurry? Then don't come to Austria.
--Real quick, let me explain to you that I'm gonna start a little series of posts on Austrian culture...telling you what regular life and daily activities are like here (and how I'm finally adapting for the most part). So bust out of your comfort zones people...this is gonna be a wild ride. It might just make you appreciate your sink disposal.--
So, first up is coffee. When you give up your addiction of Coke Zero, coffee becomes of utmost importance. (I didn't say I was going off caffeine, did I?) In fact, since stepping foot here, I've learned so much about coffee and come to really love the stuff. I love getting the silver tray topped with that little white ceramic cup filled with the perfect looking coffee (and usually the daintiest frothy pop on top) and a little glass of water next to a tiny bowl of sugar cubes. I'm a sucker for presentation. It beats a clear plastic cup whose top pops off when I grab it and with my name (usually misspelled) scribbled on the side. I mean...seriously...so tacky. I'm so sophisty now. Hand me my beret please.
Austria is famous for its coffee houses and their laid back atmosphere. The cafes in Austria are very old (first one in Vienna in 1693) and all have the same sort of old-fashioned feel to them...like you would spot a poet (or perhaps Mozart?) writing at a small round table in the corner. Drinking coffee with friends (or by yourself) usually lasts longer than 30 minutes and sometimes hours. This is normal. You are supposed to sit back and enjoy yourself and your company over 30 Verlängerters. Waiters don't rush you...you could sit there all day reading a book (like I have done) and they won't get feisty. There are no Starbucks here..(well, yes some in Austria), but not Graz because that would be 'too commercial' for this old historic town. At first that annoyed me, but I like that they keep the character and history to this place. In the few hip places where you can get coffee to go, it's heavily advertised like "Hey, check out our novel idea!". Even then, mostly college kids frequent these spots.
Now, there are tons of varieties of coffee and you don't just ask for "coffee" or you will be slapped silly by some serious Austrian waiters. There is no drip-style coffee here like we are used to. We were a little overwhelmed at first spotting of a coffee menu here. Art being the creature of habit that he is was quite annoyed he couldn't just order regular coffee. Now, we are doing better.
So, I've put together a little list of typical Austrian coffees complete with pictures for you. Those of you visiting us this year...study up!