The Wiener Melange is the cult coffee from Austria. Wiener Melange means little more than a Viennese “mixture” in French. But what is so wonderfully combined in the Wiener Melange is the scent of aromatic, tart coffee beans and the gentle foam of white milk.
Crowned with cocoa or cinnamon powder if desired – the classic from the Viennese coffee houses, which is known and appreciated worldwide today is ready. So let’s go back into its history and look for the original recipe.
Austrian Coffee Variety
With 2.9 cups of coffee per day, i.e. more than 900 cups a year, the Austrians are among the top coffee drinkers in Europe. But not only do they use the coffee in large quantities but have also created a whole range of coffee specialties in their long coffee house history.
Therefore, no other country has so many different variants in traditional coffee preparation.
The more than 40 coffee creations include such strange-sounding drinks as Franziskaner, Einspänner, and Maria Theresia coffee. However, the types of coffee that people prefer to order in the coffee house are still the Kleine Braune and the Wiener Melange.
The latter in particular has conquered the world beyond the Austrian coffee houses and has a long history. We would like to introduce them to you here in more detail.
The Viennese Melange And Its History
The history of Wiener Melange is closely linked to that of the famous coffee houses in Vienna. According to legend, these were created when the Turks hastily left the city on the Danube in 1683, leaving behind a few sacks of coffee beans. In fact, it was probably different and it took more than a hundred years until the Viennese melange was invented.
It was not until 1830 that the Austrians came up with the idea of adding fine milk froth to the aromatic coffee and thus creating a wonderful mixture, the melange.
Since at that time French was considered particularly chic, not only at the Austrian court, you could not call the coffee as a coffee mixture, but resorted to the much more sophisticated name ” melange “. The term melange is understood to mean various coffee specialties with milk.
Wiener Melange: The Right Preparation
In order to make a real Viennese melange, take an “ extended one”, i.e. a longer espresso or mocha as well as milk and milk foam. In keeping with the style, half of the coffee is poured into a large, semi-circular cup.
Then fill up with frothy blown milk. The foam cap of the melange can be provided with chocolate sprinkles. If you like it spicier, you can also use vanilla or cinnamon to top the melange.
Since the taste of the coffee is curbed by the addition of milk, the drink tastes rather mild and is ideal for a relaxing afternoon. Some lovers of sweet taste also like to add sugar to the melange. Others, on the other hand, swear by the natural sweetening power of honey alone and give the coffee creation a very special aroma.
If you want to add that little something extra to the classic, you can try a Kaiser melange. Here the coffee is “mélanged” with egg yolk and cognac (or brandy). Connoisseurs add honey to the whole thing and thus ensure a round and rich taste.
Since the current food ordinance no longer allows raw egg yolks in coffee houses, one looks in vain for this coffee specialty in Vienna today. You can still try this specialty at home. Assuming you can get fresh eggs in your area!
Wiener Melange Recipe
- Espresso Machine
- Milk Frother
- Large Glass or Cup
- 125ml Espresso Coffee
- 125 ml Milk
- Extra Milk Froth for Topping
- 1 tsp Sugar or Honey
- Preheat your glass or cup.
- Brew your lengthened espresso and pour it into the cup.
- Heat the milk to 150°F to 158°F.
- Froth 125ml of milk and pour it over your espresso.
- Now you can add the sweetener of your choice, i.e. sugar or honey.
- Fill the rest of the glass or cup with milk froth.
- If you do not want to use the milk you are used to, you can also replace it with other products. Oat milk or almond milk, for example, also works well in a Wiener Melange. Soy and spelled milk are also conceivable substitute products.
- The temperature of the milk is crucial to obtain optimally frothed milk. Many experts swear by a temperature of 150°F, but in principle, you will also succeed with the drink with 158°F warm milk.
The Difference Between Cappuccino And The Viennese Melange
At first glance, the Wiener Melange and the cappuccino look very similar. A Viennese coffee house guide even recommends cappuccino drinkers to order a melange. The Viennese do not serve cappuccino in a traditional coffee house. However, the first cafés have already bowed to the constant pressure of tourist inquiries.
But even if the two coffee drinks hardly differ at first, there are subtle differences in the details. This is how the original cappuccino is prepared from a simple espresso and twice the amount of milk froth.
This must be creamy and semi-liquid and is poured into the espresso at an angle using a specific technique. The purpose of this is that the brown crema of the espresso creates a characteristic marbling on the milk froth.
The basis for a Viennese melange, on the other hand, is a longer espresso or mocha, to which foamed milk is poured. Use half of the coffee and half of the milk froth. Finally, put some milk froth on the whole thing so that no marbling can be seen.
The Wiener Melange therefore only has a small amount of milk froth, while the cappuccino is served with significantly more milk froth. In addition, a rather milder coffee is typically used for the Wiener Melange.
The Franciscan: A Variant Of The Melange?
Due to the large variety of coffee specialties in Austria, there is also a very similar coffee enjoyment here, which, however, is much more substantial.
The so-called Franziskaner is not – as the name might suggest – sparingly with low-fat milk – but on the contrary provided with a topping of whipped cream.
Therefore not for calorie-conscious coffee drinkers, but definitely worth a sin!
The Melange In The World
It is probably thanks to the popularity of the melange that it has spread worldwide. However, not everyone understands it in the same way. In Switzerland, for example, you get a coffee served with a topping of whipped cream garnished with a coffee bean.
The whipped cream is also served separately in a small bowl so that you can decide for yourself how many calories you want in your coffee.
The Dutch, on the other hand, have interpreted the Viennese melange in a completely different way and use sugared egg yolk to prepare it, similar to the Kaisermélange.
Sometimes a coffee drink is also served here that almost corresponds to the Austrian original, except that hot cocoa is used instead of milk. Similarly, Nescafe and Lufthansa Catering also serve the Viennese melange with a cocoa mixture.
By the way: Coffee blends from the supermarket called “Melange” have nothing to do with the classic, tasty Viennese specialty and are not necessarily to be recommended.
Conclusion on Wiener Melange
The melange leaves some interpretations open – after all, it is nothing more than a “mixture”. While the Viennese rely on coffee and milk froth, the Dutch probably fell in love with the “Kaisermélange” and the Swiss probably found the name “Franziskaner” rather inappropriate for a coffee garnished with whipped cream and therefore called it Café mélange.
However, the original goes like this:
- ½ cup mocha
- ½ cup of frothed milk
- Milk foam topping, optionally with chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon, or vanilla