Vegan Viennese Coffee for 2

Ah Vienna. So beautiful. So intricate. So...sweet. Whatever you may lack in vegan options you make up for in spades in dessert. Vienna ...

Ah Vienna. So beautiful. So intricate. So...sweet. Whatever you may lack in vegan options you make up for in spades in dessert.

Vienna was one of my absolute favorite cities in my travels. It is so vibrant, full of beautiful architecture and gardens, winding streets and endless sweets. I am not exaggerating. Everywhere I went in Vienna boasted incredible looking pastries - particularly slices of cake often layered delicately and presented in tall single (and breathtakingly perfect) slices so customers could admire each layer. Vienna is a truly opulent city. It offers spectacular music, art galleries, museums and food - often at an astoundingly reasonable price (when compared to other major EU cities).

Of all the cities I traveled to I spent a considerably long time in Vienna - about a week. I know I know, that's not a long time. But as far as that trip was concerned it was a very long time to spend in one place. The extra hours really made a difference - I didn't have to be anywhere and I took my time where I wanted. I may never know if I truly loved that city more than the others I visited or if it was the feeling of relaxed travel that I adored. I know this much, I LOVED the food there and made that my visit's focus.

The Naschmarkt is where I ended up spending a lot of my time - a 7 day per week street market like none I'd ever visited before or since. A cluster of adjoined cobble streets lined with glass micro-storefronts where vendors sell everything from delicate desserts to fresh fruit and vegetables. One of the streets was full of lovely little cafes and restaurants. I would wander the food stalls in the other streets and then head there to sit at a coffee shop and watch the crowds roll by as I sipped my cappuccino. Why did I go back so many times? Well, besides the endless and amazing free samples at the stalls, the Naschmarkt offered my favorite atmosphere - picture a beautifully designed farmer's market with no cars, only foot traffic, restaurants, sunlit outdoor patios and the best cheese and coffee you've ever tasted. I would live in that market if I could.

Coffee. Yes, today's post is about coffee. Well I should start by saying that the Viennese like their coffee in a particular way. Very strong and smothered in cold freshly whipped cream. Mit schlag as they say. The Viennese enjoy their shlag, a lot. So much so that a well loved gelateria near my hostel offered a mountain of it on top of any gelato for a mere 50 cents.
The whipped cream in Vienna is not like what you buy in a can in North America. For starters, it is not very sweet (if at all) and is made thick and intense with real cream, rather than filler and chemical stabilizers. But enough about that, back to the coffee. The cream may not be sweet but the coffee is, and together they combine blissfully in your mouth. I really only encountered Viennese-style coffee in Vienna. All the other cities I traveled to offered mostly cappuccinos, espressos, cafe au lait and lattes. Not that I'm complaining- I love all of these! But Viennese coffee always struck me as a lovely dessert -- just indulgent enough without leaving you lethargic. Though it tastes like dessert, it's really common to see Viennese people sipping it for breakfast alongside a nice pastry or a perfectly poached egg. I preferred to enjoy mine in the early afternoon sun on a patio in the market, or wandering through the winding streets of downtown.

Since becoming vegan I have not enjoyed whipped cream in some time. I used to adore whipped cream and always felt ice cream needed, no, DEMANDED it. The whipped cream recipe below is made out of coconut cream skimmed from the top of a refrigerator-separated can of organic coconut milk. Despite coming from coconut, I assure you it tastes like real whipped cream (most, if not all, of coconut milk's coconutty flavor is isolated in the coconut water that pools in the bottom of the can of separated milk) and I highly recommend  trying it. This cream is great to substitute anywhere you would ordinarily use whipped cream. I like it on fresh fruit or cereal, as well as alongside, or on top of, dessert.  If you're not much of a coffee person, try it on top of hot chocolate or chai tea!  

Vegan Viennese Coffee(Coffee ‘Mit Schlag’ or with whipped cream)
Makes 2 vegan and impossibly creamy coffees
  • 2 cups strong coffee or two double shot espressos, divided between two glasses (I brewed mine with cinnamon)
  • 1 small batch Vegan Whipped Cream (see below for recipe card)
  • Raw honey or maple syrup or coconut sugar (to sweeten coffee)
  • Ice (optional)
  • A few dashes cinnamon (garnish, optional)
Brew your coffee -- I find it is very nice if you add 1 tbsp of cinnamon to your grinds. While the coffee brews, prepare the vegan whipped cream, or prepare before brewing and store in fridge or freezer until coffee is ready.
Sweeten your hot coffee to your taste with raw honey or maple syrup or coconut sugar.
Decide whether or not you want this as a hot or cold drink. If you want it cold, add some ice cubes to each glass then top with half of your small batch of whipped cream. If you want it hot, add your prepared whipped cream on top right away after sweetening your coffees. Sprinkle each creamy coffee with a little cinnamon.

Vegan "Whipped Cream"
Makes a small batch
  • 1 tiny can full fat coconut milk (160ml), refrigerated overnight in the coldest spot in your fridge
  • pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp mild tasting evoo or other neutral flavored oil (optional, helps reduce coconut flavor)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional, I don’t bother)
Put a small metal mixing bowl in your freezer for 2 minutes.
Take the can of coconut milk out of the fridge. Do not shake and do not flip the tiny can over. Open. Carefully scoop out the coconut cream that has settled at the top of the can, adding it to your now chilled bowl. Avoid removing any of the opaque coconut water at the bottom of the can. Pour the remaining water into a container and store in the fridge for another recipe.
Add the salt and cinnamon and oil (if using). Grab an electric mixer and beat  the cream on high for a few seconds until it resembles whipped cream. Drizzle in the maple and beat to incorporate. Put the bowl back in the freezer for 2 minutes before adding to desserts or coffee.

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