Vienna has a long history with coffee. Legend has it the first coffee house in Vienna was opened with coffee the Ottoman army left behind at the Battle of Vienna. Whether or not that’s true, the city is still famous for its grandiose coffee houses, many of which remain relatively unchanged since the 19th century.
Although tourists still line up to experience Vienna’s traditional coffee houses, don’t expect much from the coffee. They tend to be anonymous blends from big companies. Certainly nothing that would be considered specialty grade.
Although the traditional coffee houses of Vienna might be stuck in the 19th century, venture out of Vienna’s tourist-centric first district and you’ll find a slew of contemporary coffee shops very much attuned to modern trends and flavors. These are perhaps the real coffee houses of Vienna, which primarily cater to the people that live and work here. And one of our favorites is Jonas Reindl Coffee Roasters, located on Westbahnstrasse.
Contemporary café design has gone in an austere direction in recent years: stark, gallery-like interiors, uncomfortable metal stools, no wifi or outlets. Certainly, these are beautiful spaces, but perhaps not actually meant for people to use or enjoy. Remarkably, Jonas Reindl has succeeded in creating an atmosphere on the bleeding edge of café design while remaining decidedly human-centric. One notices this before you even reach the door. Indeed, if the weather is nice, expect the crate-like outdoor seating to fill up before any inside tables are taken.
Inside, expect a paired-down espresso menu and by-the-cup filter brews of Jonas Reindl’s single origin coffees. Espresso at Jonas Reindl is made with a black Synesso, with two espresso options available. The default espresso tends to be more on the chocolatey side: when I visited it was a Nicaragua from Fincas Los Alpes. An Ethiopia Beriti Tore provides a more floral/fruity option.
As their name implies, Jonas Reindl is a roaster/retailer, and their Probat coffee roaster is on full display in the café. Curiously, on none of my visits is it actually in use– and I expect the open air design might lead to a noisy environment on roast days. Regardless, there is something special about drinking coffee where it was roasted, and all of the coffees I had at Jonas Reindl were well-roasted.
An added reasons to visit Jonas Reindl when visiting Vienna: extended hours. Most specialty coffee shops in Austria close on Sundays and relatively early on Weekdays. Jonas Reindl is open on Sundays and until 20:00 on Weekdays (their Währingerstrasse location is open even later). For tourists such as myself in need of a third space, it’s a welcome feature.
By all means, no trip to Vienna would be complete without visiting one of its historic coffee houses. But don’t just pay respect to Vienna’s history– experience its present at Jonas Reindl.