What Is Viennese Coffee ? 3 Things That Define It (And Recipe)

Are you looking for a cozy, warm cup of coffee to enjoy with the family by the fire ? The Viennese coffee might be for you. Part hot chocolate, part coffee, the Viennese coffee is going to impress any guest.

Let’s start by defining the Viennese coffee, and see how to make one at home.

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So what is Viennese coffee ?

Viennese coffee is a fancier type of coffee, very reminiscent of cafe mocha. The texture is very different, and this can set the two apart.

It contains espresso, chocolate syrup, chocolate ganache, and a whole lot of whipped cream and toppings. Cinnamon, chocolate sprinkles, cocoa powder, whatever you like.

This kind of coffee is mostly European, and it’s not often found in the U.S. coffee shops, so making it at home might be the best option.

Now let’s see about those 3 defining trains of Viennese coffee.

1. Viennese coffee has chocolate, much like a mocha

You can’t make Viennese coffee with no chocolate. That’s the whole point of this coffee drink, and it’s going to be very specific in its needs. So, you’ll need to not only add chocolate ganache, but also a bit of chocolate syrup, for topping and in a nice layer in the drink.

If you were to simply add chocolate syrup to a shot of espresso and then some whipped cream, you would have something very much like a cup of mocha.

But, Viennese coffee requires you to add serious amounts of chocolate. Really, this it more like a dessert than a cup of coffee. You’ll be a bit confused as to whether you should sip it or use a spoon, and that’s half the fun really.

You can use as much coffee as you want, depending on how coffee or chocolate heavy you want your drink to be. I like mine on the coffee side, so I use less chocolate than the recipe calls for.

2. Viennese coffee contains cream, either whipped or ganache

When making your Viennese coffee you’ll need a whole lot of cream, in different forms. And this is the kind of drink that you can make for one, but really it’s too much  of a hassle for one cup.

Best to make a large batch and have some friends over.

The first form of cream we need it heavy, liquid cream. We need it to make the chocolate ganache, which is just chocolate melted into the cream, and it becomes a thick sort of frosting.

The, we’ll need to whisk some heavy cream into whipped cream, or just use canned. Whichever works best for you, though I recommend taking the extra time to whisk it yourself since the taste is much better.

Now all this, along with the chocolate we use, and the chocolate syrup, is going to brick a boat load of calories. For one serving you’re getting about 421 calories, for 151 ml/5 oz of drink. More info on that you’ll find in the recipe below.

Just know that I’ve calculated this with a lower amount of chocolate, to let the coffee shine through. And no sugar has been added, since the chocolate and chocolate syrup have their own sugar.

All in all, this is a small but heavy drink. What you do with this information is up to you.

You can, however, substitute the cream for vegan options. You’ll have to add a thickening agent if you really want this to be a thicker drink, and your total calories will be fairly similar to the non-vegan option.

3. Viennese coffee is much like French hot chocolate in texture

Alright, I’ve talked about adding ganache and making coffee and so on, but what’s the final product ?

It’s a lot like French hot chocolate. Which is basically chocolate bits, melted into heavy cream and topped with whipped cream. A lower fat version is to use full fat milk instead of heavy cream, and the result is a much less dense drink.

So if you like thick French hot chocolate, you’ll love the Viennese coffee as well.

The exact texture though is up to you, and your preferences. I for one think French hot chocolate is too thick, and always ask the waiter to bring a less dense version.

That’s just me being me though, you might like the thick drink. For me it’s a confusing cross between hot cocoa and chocolate pudding. Though it always looks beautiful.

So if you’re like me, you’ll find the recipe below to be to your liking. If you’d like it thicker, I’ve included instructions for that as well.

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How to make Viennese coffee (vegan options included)

When making Viennese coffee, you’ll need several ingredients. This will also take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.

This recipe is for a thinner version of Viennese coffee, and if you’d like to thicken it, I’ll let you know how to do that too. Many of these ingredients can be swapped with vegan ones, and the result will be very similar.

This recipe yields 4 servings, of about 5 oz/150 ml per serving.

So for non-vegan Viennese coffee, you’ll need:

  • 3 regular shots of espresso, hot
  • 1 cup/240 ml of heavy cream
  • 100 gr/3.5 oz of milk chocolate
  • 100 ml/3.5 oz of chocolate syrup

Separate 3/4 of the heavy cream, and set it in a metal bowl. In a larger pot bring water to a boil, and set the metal bowl with the heavy cream just above the water.

We’re going to steam the heavy cream, and make sure it doesn’t do anything weird by not adding direct flame to it. More info on this process you can find if you’ll google bain-marie.

After your heavy cream’s gotten hot, keep it over the hot water and add the chopped up chocolate into the cream. Keep stirring, and be patient.

The chocolate will take a few minutes to melt, but it will melt. Once it’s melted and you’ve gotten your ganache, set the bowl on the counter. Mind the dripping water.

If you’ve got an espresso machine, make 3 shots of espresso. Add them directly onto the ganache, and stir. It will take a minute, but the mixture will become thinner and resemble just a thicker coffee.

Get 4 warm cups, and portion the coffee mixture into the cups.

Separately, in a clean, cold bowl whisk the 1/4 heavy cream that was left over. Whisk it as much as you like. I like to go for softer peaks, but if you’d like a sharper whisk that will work as well.

Decorate the coffee with the whipped cream, in any way you like. Drizzle the chocolate syrup on top. Add any other toppings you’d like. Cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, chocolate sprinkles, whatever you want.

And you’re done ! 4 servings of Viennese coffee, ready to be enjoyed.

If you’d like a much thicker chocolate-coffee mixture, feel free to triple the amount of chocolate used in the ganache. If you want it even thicker, you can use a mixed on it for a minute or two, after it’s cooled off a bit.

For vegan Viennese coffee:

  • 3 shots of espresso, standard
  • 200 ml mixture of plant milk and plant butter
  • 100 gr/3.5 vegan chocolate syrup
  • 100 gr/3.5 oz darkest chocolate you can find, or vegan chocolate
  • 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch, according to how thick you want it
  • vegan whipped cream, store-bought

The same ingredients as before, minus the heavy cream and milk chocolate. Instead, use dark chocolate or vegan chocolate. It will behave the same way in a ganache.

And instead of heavy cream, use any kind of plant milk and butter you like, in a smaller amount (200 ml/ 3 quarters of a cup). Only you will need to add a bit of cornstarch to thicken things up.

The vegan whipped cream can be made with cooking cream. The vast majority of them have plant-based fat and milk, so finding one that’s completely vegan won’t be hard.

Or, you can always use a pre-made vegan whipped cream and keep things simple.

You will use the same steps as the non-vegan Viennese coffee, except the ganache will be slightly different.

When adding your milk and butter to the meta bowl, whisk in the cornstarch as well. Then let the mixture heat over the bain-marie, and add the chocolate bits.

The rest of the steps are the same.

About the calories in the Viennese coffee

The amount of heavy cream is fairly large, 1 cup/240 ml. That 846 calories.

To that we add the 100 gr/3.5 oz of milk chocolate, which is 535 calories. More calories if you add more chocolate. I like to make my ganache a thin one. If you’d like your on the thicker side you’d need 300 gr chocolate, which brings you to 1605 calories.

And we add 3 espresso shots, which have barely anything, 25 calories for all 3 shots.

The chocolate syrup is 100 ml/3.5 oz, and that’s 280 cal by itself.

Now add all that and divide by the 4 servings we mean to make, and we’ve reached the 421 calories mentioned before. The vegan version is going to vary a lot, according to how much plant butter you like to add, since that will raise the overall calorie score.

Final thoughts

Whichever way you make you Viennese coffee, vegan or not, it’s bound to please your guests. And you can get super creative with the toppings, or the way you add the chocolate syrup.

For example using clear, glass cups will allow you to smear the inside of the cup with a bit of chocolate syrup, which will melt and make wonderful streaks when you add the chocolate/coffee mixture and then the whipped cream.

I like my Viennese coffee tasty, but not very thick. I hope the recipe helps you find the right thickness for your drink, and rememeber you can always change it up.

If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?