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We had a blast on the Danube! Visited wonderful cities in Germany, Austria and Hungary that have vibrant third wave coffee houses mere blocks from those with a historic bent.
On our first stop, we visited a Bavarian coffee shop while in Nuremburg where we took a quick side trip from a huge outdoor market (that becomes their famed Christmas Market) to visit the nearby Café Katz. Sitting outside in a plaza it felt like an iconic European coffeehouse. We tasted a traditional cappuccino…. We were struck by the smooth, milkiness of the steamed milk. Quite different from the SCAA standards we follow in the US. Big pillows of foam on top of a thick, rich espresso. I also snuck away from the tour briefly to pop into a literal hole-in-the wall espresso bar.
The next day in Regensburg Germany we went to Café Prinzess which is the oldest coffee house in Germany, started in 1686. Another chance to sit in a plaza and have our espresso with wonderful made-on-premises chocolates! It was overwhelming to sit in the midst of this UNESCO Heritage site, an amazingly well preserved medieval town. Also, quite different from sitting outside of Caffè Amouri and our incredible view!
On to Passua. Unfortunately by Caffè Bus trip rather than Caffè Cruise due to low water levels in the Danube. Here we aimed confusedly towards UP Coffee Roaster, a small artisan coffee roaster. Then bam, ‘Closed’ for renovation. And it looked exactly like a place we hoped to experience. Sad Faces all around. Instead we wandered back to Casia Espresso Bar; this time for a macchiato…splendid!
On to Vienna…venturing out on a rainy morning by subway, we walked by so many historic cafes. Café Sacher Wien (of Sacher Torte fame) was first, then Café Am Hof. We finally found our historic grail, Café Central. This coffeehouse was frequented by the Viennese intellectual crowd (much like the “Viennese” intellectuals that frequent Caffè Amouri), and by such diverse visitors as Freud and Jung, Trotsky and Stalin, Hitler, that went on to such outsized roles in the 20th Century. Newspapers from around the world were read and discussed here. Sitting with these ghosts, while drinking a Café Mélange and savoring the most beautiful pasteries…almost too pretty to eat….Almost!
Finally, Budapest, where there’s such a huge third wave coffee community that the World of Coffee conference was held here earlier this July. So here we focused on these new shops. Actually most of the old coffeehouses were taken over by the state while Hungary was under Soviet control. Coffeehouses were seen as centers of underground organizing so ‘espressos’ were opened instead. These were small places where people stood at the counter to finish their coffee. Here we visited Espresso Embassy, Sock’s Coffee, Circusz Café. These café’s are right in line with the SCAA standard drinks we’re so familiar with in the US.
There are so many other places to explore, coffee folks to meet and coffee traditions to experience. We’ll have to do it all again!