If it weren’t for the hoards of tourists, Innsbruck might be the perfect Alpine city. But places that are popular are popular for a reason. And Innsbruck’s stunning natural beauty, quaint architecture, and top-tier winter sports make it a travel destination like few others, even if you probably will find that tour group of American college students to be unreasonably loud.
But Innsbruck is more than just the home of the 1976 Winter Olympics. It’s also a pretty good place to get a cup of coffee. Honestly, any cup of coffee tastes pretty good when you’re staring at the Alps, but two places we had coffee in Innsbruck were a step above.
Innsbruck takes its name from the Inn River, which curves around the historic downtown. Haepinest is a café on the north bank, across from downtown, serving a rotating cast of guest roasters. Haepinest has just received a shipment from Holland’s Manhattan Coffee Roasters when I arrive, but the barista informs me it’s still too fresh to brew. Instead I’m served a single origin shot from Guatemala, roasted by Amsterdam’s White Label. The shot was juicy and sweet, surprisingly fruity for a Guatemala. It proves to be one of the more memorable shots of espresso I enjoy in Austria. Haepinest also offers natural wines by the glass, with cult producers such as Partida Creus on the menu.
It’s still early, but the tourist are already lining up to get photos of Innsbruck’s Golden Dachl when I walk into Coffeekult’s Aldstat café– a mere block from the famous tourist destination. Inside the café, however, one would never know you’re surrounded by tour groups. The barista chats in German with the other customers with a familiarity I can only assume means they’re regulars. When I enter the shop, I almost feel like I’m desecrating a sacred space, a hallowed reserve away from the tourists.
I start things off with a single shot of espresso. It proves to be more on the traditional side: dark chocolate and winter spices. I get the feeling it would taste great in milk, so I also order a cappuccino, which comes perfectly textured. Coffeekult roasts their own coffee a mere kilometer away near Innsbruck’s main train station. With a total of five coffee shops around town, you’re never far from a cup of locally roasted coffee in Innsbruck.