What is a Wiener Melange?

G. Wiesen

Wiener melange is a coffee drink, made popular in Viennese coffee houses, that primarily consists of coffee and milk, usually milk foam. This is similar to Italian cappuccino, though a milder coffee is often used for the Viennese version, which is also frequently served with a glass of water to drink along with the coffee. The milk foam may be served on top of the coffee, or it may be stirred in to help combine the flavors prior to drinking. Wiener melange is often confused with another coffee drink that is served with whipped cream, rather than steamed or foamed milk.

Wiener melange is a coffee drink combined with milk.
Wiener melange is a coffee drink combined with milk.

The name comes from the German term for “Viennese mixture” and refers to the popularity and likely origins of this drink in Vienna. While no particular coffee must be used in making this drink, it is common to use a fairly mild coffee. This is in contrast to Italian cappuccino, which typically uses strong coffee or espresso made by producing coffee with pressurized water. The traditional serving of Wiener melange also tends to include a glass of water, which allows the drinker to cleanse his or her palette between sips and helps prevent dehydration while drinking the coffee.

To make a Wiener melange, whole milk is steamed and then mixed with mild-flavored coffee.
To make a Wiener melange, whole milk is steamed and then mixed with mild-flavored coffee.

Different restaurants or cafes can prepare the beverage in different ways, though mild coffee combined with milk foam is the most common method. Some locations use a combination of steamed milk and milk foam itself, while other cafes prefer to use only coffee and the milk foam without steamed milk. Milk foam is typically served on top of the coffee, which creates an attractive appearance for the drink as it is served. While Wiener melange can be sipped through the milk foam, many people prefer to mix the foam and coffee together to combine the flavors more thoroughly.

Despite the fact that Wiener melange is Viennese in nature, there can be some confusion regarding exactly what is expected when ordering this drink in a café. Even in Viennese cafes, ordering a “Wiener melange” can result in a drink more properly referred to as a Franziskaner. This drink more closely resembles an espresso con panna, which is a coffee drink topped with whipped cream rather than steamed milk or milk foam. This confusion has only been further compounded by the fact that an espresso con panna is often referred to as a café Vienne or café Vienois in many areas.

Many drink water alongside Wiener melange to prevent dehydration and cleanse their pallet between sips.
Many drink water alongside Wiener melange to prevent dehydration and cleanse their pallet between sips.

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Discussion Comments


@Markus - I understand your point and you're right, you can buy coffee at your local supermarket, though I would say that if you're that concerned about the quality of beans when making a melange or other type of fancy coffee, the supermarket might let you down too. Or perhaps you live near a really good one that gets great blends?

But there are a few benefits involved when purchasing coffee online. This is especially true to those coffee lovers who search the world over for the very best coffee they can find which can be conveniently found online.

Coffee purchased online is usually much fresher than the coffee from your local grocery store because it's ground fresh and hasn't been sitting on a shelf or shipped from the warehouse to the distributor then on to the market.

Another reason people prefer to purchase their special coffee online is because it's environmentally friendly. Online shopping uses less energy and helps reduce the emission of carbon dioxide.


I'm just curious why there's been an increase in the desire to buy coffee online. I mean, besides the convenience of being able to get ground coffee or coffee beans in a supermarket, you can almost never find a really decent grind.

I may come across as a coffee snob, or just not have found the right place yet, but when I'm making things like a wiener melange, I want a truly great coffee blend to go with it, not some stale, poorly ground blend that's been sitting in some warehouse for ages.

If I'm taking the time to make a melange, I want to do it right!


@aviva - Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think the great coffee recipe you are referring to is called Emperor melange. Only it uses the egg yolk instead of the egg white.

Traditional wiener melange doesn't add eggs to their coffee and most often the Viennese will add honey or even cognac as a sweetener as opposed to using sugar.

Your coffee blend does sound good though, but I would use an egg yolk instead a the whites.


My husband used to buy gourmet coffee every morning on his way to work until I found a home recipe to put a stop to it. It was getting quite expensive so I knew I had to do something.

The recipe is really very simple and quick. All you have to do is beat one egg white with about a teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of a coffee mug. Pour in your hot brewed coffee, whatever brand or flavor you prefer, and stir well. Then top it off with a tablespoon of heavy cream and there you have it.

I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon or cocoa powder on top of mine for that extra special touch. Then with every sip, I just close my eyes and vision the sights and sounds of a small Vienna sidewalk cafe.

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