The Melange: Vienna’s Signature Coffee

Get to know more about Vienna’s famous Melange

In the heart of Vienna’s renowned coffee house culture lies the Melange, a beverage that is much more than just a coffee. It’s a symbol of Viennese lifestyle and tradition. This particular coffee has not just warmed the hands and hearts of locals for generations, but it has also become a beloved part of the city’s identity. Let’s dive into the world of coffee in Vienna, exploring its origins, what makes it special, and its place in Viennese culture.

The Origins of the Melange

The history of the Melange is intertwined with the coffee house tradition in Vienna, which dates back to the 17th century. Coffee was introduced to Vienna following the defeat of the Turks in the Battle of Vienna. The Melange, however, evolved over time as a unique Viennese creation. Its name, derived from the French word for “mix,” reflects the blend of coffee and milk that defines it.

What makes it different?

A Melange is often mistaken for a cappuccino or latte, but it has its distinct character. It consists of one shot of espresso, mixed with an equal amount of steamed milk, and topped with a little foam. The key to a perfect Melange is the balance between the coffee and milk, creating a smooth, creamy texture that’s not too strong but still has a robust coffee flavour. If you haven’t tried it yet, we recommend doing so first thing after finishing our “Vienna’s top 10 and their secrets” tour. We usually finish by a nice cafe for you to enjoy and reflect on the stories heard.

How did it become a Viennese staple

The now beloved beverage gained popularity in the traditional Viennese coffee houses as a morning beverage. It quickly became a staple, not just for its taste but for the experience it represented. Enjoying a Melange in a Viennese coffee house is about taking a moment to relax, read, meet friends, or just watch the world go by. It’s an integral part of the city’s slow-paced, indulgent lifestyle.

Café Central Secret Vienna
Café Central Secret Vienna

The Melange in Viennese Culture

In Vienna, ordering a Melange is more than just ordering a coffee; it’s a nod to local customs. The coffee house, historically, has been a place for socialising, intellectual discussion, and enjoying the arts. The Melange is at the centre of this culture, being the drink of choice for many who partake in these traditional gatherings.

Different variations

While the classic Melange remains a favourite, there are variations to suit different tastes. Some add a dollop of whipped cream on top, while others prefer a dusting of cocoa powder. Each coffee house might have its take on the Melange, adding to its charm and versatility. You can learn more about this and other coffee types in Vienna through a fun coffee experience. We recommend this one here.

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