Alt Wien Kaffee, Schleifmuhlgasse 23, Wien (Vienna), Austria
Finally we found a roaster, cafe and Barista (Oliver) who actually has knowledge and a passion for coffee! Oliver expressed succinctly our findings while being in Vienna; he mentioned something like the following... the traditional coffee houses in Vienna don't know what coffee is, they serve over roasted burnt coffee with milk that isn't prepared properly...
The espresso bar at Alt Wien Kaffee has 6 grinders, some of them are Luigi Mazzers and they use a Faema espresso machine. We tried three single estate espresso's; a Brasilia, a Hawaiian Kona by the name of Captain Cook and an Ethiopia Sidamo. All were very nicely roasted, good even brown, not very oily and fresh smelling. The Hawaiian was very good, fruity, a little weight and body and (with floral notes)perfumey. The Brasilia was delicious; missing the licorice taste we know and love, but was a medium to full body coffee, with a creamy rich sensation. The Ethiopian Sudamo was good, but not great. Possibly because of the grinder being used...Oliver had mentioned that he was not happy with the grind. At the end of this wonderfully generous exploration we had a secret house blend (we guess: Brasilia, Nicaragua and El Salvador?) That was really quite delicious, well rounded, fruity, chocolately, and aromatic... Yet, I am still challenged by the quality and use of milk. At this particular cafe they are more purists and promote drinking mostly espresso's without milk. This is a treat when the espresso is magic, of such good quality , and because of the level of interest it brings forth and the challenge of discerning the coffee bean in its purity. But, but...we also believe that there is a weighty importance to milk as a mixing agent as a way of bringing coffee into another realm, as so many complex and amazing flavours can develop: not better then the purity of espresso , but nonetheless, potentially another exploration of excellence.!
And, one more note I would like to leave you with, so you can have a feel for the fun we were having in our conversation with Oliver when discussing the current lack of coffee expertise and appreciation in, ahem...some cities..."Oliver...how many people do you believe actually taste coffee?” Oliver quips back, “A fraction..."