Thursday, January 7, 2010

Life in Austria . Part 1 . Coffee Drinkin'


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 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 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 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 up!



Sneaker Teacher said...

Great tutorial on the coffee! These seem pretty similar to what I have seen here. I don't usually drink coffee in situations where I actually have to order it, but I know one time I had a milchkaffee. I usually just play it cool and order whatever the person I am with is having. Good enough way to sort out what I like and what I don't...

Unknown said...

I never started drinking coffee, not even in Austria. Every single person I told that I don't drink coffee was there while dumbfounded. That's not to say I don't enjoy the coffee culture. I find being able to sit for hours on on end in a cafe an amazing experience and would recommend it to anyone. Love it!

brookes said...

I'll have 2 of the last two, please. Pronto.

Erin said...

that looks like coffee heaven! i'm so perked. that latte beats the hell out of my mondo-sized styro cup of burnt-bean drip kaffee that i guzzle down every day. (tempering that bitter-burnt taste with a packet of splenda, of course. but i'm guessing they don't care for splenda over there...and probably don't need it since their coffee is creamy loviness. ahhhh.)

Jennifer said...

Hi Carolyn!
Jeff showed me your blog, and I'm a faithful blog follower so get ready for my stalker-like commenting (j/k).

Love reading about your cultural adventures in Graz (which I didn't even know existed). Your coffee post reminds me of being in Argentina this summer. Definitely no coffee to go....that's taboo.

Hope all is well, and happy belated New Year! You missed some good times with the Triumphs.

Anonymous said...

I love the pictoral coffee menu here - excellent way to highlight the coffee culture. The one that I like to order when I want a "regular coffee" is the Haferlkaffee. Usually comes in a big comfy mug and is pretty close to the Verlängerter, but with more volume. Man, I sound so American! Can't wait for more posts in this series!

Rachel in Heidelberg said...

This made me laugh so much :) whilst trying to write my first ever essay (c. 5000 words) in German :(
You should edit your blog at the end of your time in Graz into a book "An American's Adventures in Austria" or something ;p

Stephanie Sabbe said...

looove coffee. I grabbed some on the way home from work today which is an extra special treat. I usually try to stick to being a morning coffee drinker.

Mom said...

Very informative and interesting! I'm liking your new idea for the blog! On a random side note, LM's bday is next weekend...can't wait to send you pics of all your masterpieces!! I'm having fun putting it all together...making a HUGE mess in the process, though!

Altenpflege said...

WoW! such an informative blog indeed. love it.=D

24h Betreuung said...

Great! I so love this post.

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- Carolyn