Austrian Kaffeehäuser (traditional coffee houses), especially coffee houses in Vienna, are relics from a bygone era, when artists, politicians, bohemians and army officers convened there to read, philosophise, play chess and engage in intellectual duels while sipping carefully brewed cups of coffee.
Despite every Kaffeehaus being different, certain traditions are honoured everywhere. For example, if you order a single drink you can stay at the Kaffeehaus as long as you would like, making it a viable second home. A useful rule of thumb: the more newspapers, games and regulars, the better the Kaffeehaus.
Every decent Kaffeehaus takes pride in its extensive choice of coffees. At least a dozen different concoctions of freshly ground coffee, milk, cream, water, liqueurs, chocolate and even egg yolk (used in the so-called Kaisermelange) are usually on offer, and many Kaffeehäuser have their own signature drink too. Every coffee is served with a glass of water, which the coffee house waiter will top up for free, even long after you have finished your coffee.
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