Viennese coffee: Kaffee Maria Theresia


I don’t know where you are, but where I am, we are having our second “Arctic” cold spell.  This seems like a good time to follow up the Hot Toddy post with some nice coffee cocktails. Where better to start off than Vienna?  I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in Vienna and I highly recommend it as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.  But even more, it is home to some of the best coffeehouses and cafes in the world.  Viennese coffee is exquisite and the cakes, strudels and pastries are a league of their own.  The Viennese know how to brew a cup of coffee, and most coffeehouses will serve you a Kaffee Maria Theresia, which is sweetened coffee with orange liquor and whipped cream.

The drink is named for THE Maria Theresia of the Hapsburg empire.  She was quite a formidable woman.  She was the only female ruler of the Habsburg empire and she was the last ruler of the House of Habsburg. The empire included Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, and parts of Italy.  She ruled the Habsburg empire for 40 years and during that time gave birth to 22 children (16 survived childhood), while also fighting 2 wars.  She was a kick-ass woman and the drink named for her honors her well.

So how do you make this coffee cocktail?  You need the following: orange liqueur, superfine sugar, coffee, whipping cream and orange zest for garnish.  Let’s talk about some of these ingredients.

For this drink you can use any type of orange liquor.  Cointreau and Triple Sec add a clean orange flavor.  I used Grand Marnier because the cognac base adds a nice note to the drink.


Superfine sugar dissolves nicely, but you can use regular cane sugar in a pinch, just stir a little longer.


Next, you will need to whip your cream ahead of time.  Organic grassfed is nice if you can get it, but more importantly, don’t use a can.  You can lightly sweeten it or not, depending on your preference.


Okay, let’s make the drink!

Kaffee Maria Theresia (slightly adapted from Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague by Rick Rodgers)

First warm your cup with boiling water.  While skipping this step isn’t the end of the world, it will insure your coffee stays nice and hot.


Next, pour out the water, and pour 3 tablespoons of orange liquor in your cup, and stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar.


When the sugar is dissolved, add 1 cup of coffee.


Next, add a dollop of whipped cream.


Last but not least, zest some orange.


Garnish, and enjoy.


A little decadent, but just the thing to brighten a cold day.  And perfect for breakfast, afternoon coffee break or after dinner.