Viennese coffee house culture is renowned the world over, but coffee houses did not begin there. In Mecca, there were several coffee houses in the 12th century, while Europe’s first coffee shop opened in Venice, closely followed by London. It was 1683 before the first Viennese coffee house opened its doors. Since then Vienna has established an unparalleled coffee house tradition.
In 1683, the Ottoman invaders made a hasty retreat from the Battle of Vienna, leaving behind them sack loads of coffee beans at the city gates.The Armenian spy Diodato, who served at the Imperial court and knew the secrets of roasting and brewing the dark beans, seized his opportunity and opened the first coffee shop there. The Viennese soon developed a taste for coffee!
But the early establishments were little more than dingy basements. They had little in common with the sophisticated places with their red velvet chairs and ostentatious chandeliers that we…
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