Fresh flowers top each table draped in soft white linen. The inside of the café is a blend of classical Viennese architecturearched ceilings supported by carved stone pillars run the length of the hallmixed with a drop of modernity, with three flat screen televisions posted along the trusses that also act as window frames.
A tall server in a short sleeve button-up, Thierry Voyeux, invites me to take a seat at my choice of red booths, coming to take my order after an appropriate interval of four to six minutes. This afternoon I am here to taste one of the Café Oper Wiens specialty drinks, the Mozart Kaffee.
The Café Oper Wien serves an intriguing alcoholic espresso. The drink is named after renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart was summoned to Vienna in 1781, at the height of what we now call the Classical Period, a time in which he produced operas such as "The Abduction from the Seraglio," which was wildly popular across Europe.
Having worked as a barista in a small-town café in America for a number of years, I am interested to watch how this European espresso drink is mixed.
To start, a serving of Mozart Liqueur is poured into a glass mug. Two shots of espresso are pulled over the alcohol. This mixture is not enough to give you a buzz, but unexpectedly the bite of the espresso is mellowed.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that the liqueur is distilled from the Mozart Krugal, which Voyeux describes as a small cocoa nut.
And the espresso? From none other than the coffee company Julius Meinl, a roaster named after the Meinl family. In 1862 Julius Meinl I opened a coffee and tea shop in the central part of Vienna. Trumping his father in 1877, Julius Meinl II went on to revolutionize the coffee roasting process, eliminating contact between beans and fuel gases, allowing the full flavor of the bean to remain intact. The brew that resulted was without aftertaste. The espresso Im drinking today is from their Messo Picco line.
These aforementioned elements combine to make a delicious drink.
Peeking through the windows with drawn white curtains, I see Herbert von Karajan Platz. Karajan was the principle conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1956-1989, who, as a peculiarity, always conducted concerts with his eyes closed, according to the Philharmonics biography on its late leader.
Viennese men and women in business casual attire walk the open space as pigeons flap from the top of the marble fountain outside. Along with tables inside, the café has seating on Karajan Platz.
Dont come into the café in a grey cotton t-shirt and jeans, unless you are ready to be met by slightly unwelcoming looks from the staff; for all of Voyeuxs hospitality, I receive a cold look from the barista behind the counter for my less-than-formal attire.
Then again, youll probably be properly dressed. The Vienna State Opera (the Wiener Staatsoper), known the world over, is the next door down.
The Café Oper Wien is located on Herbert von Karajan Platz, Opernring 2, A1010 Wien. The café is open on Monday through Saturday from eight in the morning to midnight. On Sunday and Holidays, the café is open from nine thirty in the morning to midnight. You can reach the Café Oper Wien at 0043 1 513 39 57, or visit them online at www.cafeoperwien.at.