A sip of this deliciously creamy and smooth cup of coffee is sure to please even those non-coffee drinkers. Similar to the French cafe au lait and the Italian cappuccino, the Viennese melange is a combination of coffee with steamed milk and foam. Unlike cappuccino, this "Wiener Melange" is made with milder coffee and is traditionally served with a glass of water. The accompaniment of water allows the coffee to go down more easily without dehydration.
The experience of sitting in a plush Viennese café with a cup of Viennese coffee, a glass of water and a newspaper seems to awaken the intellect within you. It conjures up images of the Austrian intelligentsia in the early 20th century with characters like Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.
While in Vienna, I visited several Viennese cafés, such as the famous Café Central, and tried several variations on this deep rich coffee. My favorite, Franziskaner, also called an "espresso con panna," is served with whipped cream instead of foam. I also tasted rich delicious café mocha served with whipped cream. The Viennese café culture dates as far back as the late 17th century.
The influence of the melange on American coffee can be seen in Starbucks and several smaller coffeeshops. One of the best places to try the classic melange is Café Sabarsky located on the first floor of the Neue Galerie in Manhattan.