Virtuoso Life - November/December 2017 - 40
FOOD & SPIRITS
Virtuoso Life contributor Jeff Koehler wrote the book on coffee: Where the Wild Coffee Grows
(Bloomsbury, $20). Released November 14, it's an in-depth exploration of arabica coffee in the
Kaffa region of Ethiopia, the Kaffa people's culture, and how that region may hold the key to
Latin America's coffee industry, which has been battered by climate change and other factors. "Writing a book about coffee allows for a couple of justiﬁable indulgences," says Koehler.
"One, of course, is drinking coffee - lots of it. I have sipped more in the last two years than the
previous ten." Another is spending time in cafés and coffeehouses that have a patina of history,
sumptuous interiors, and attentive service. Here are ﬁve cafés he advises you to seek out.
1. VIENNA: Viennese kaffeehaus culture has played such a key role in shaping the city that UNESCO added it to its Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
For centuries, artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers have treated Vienna's
sophisticated coffeehouses as public living rooms. Sigmund Freud, for
instance, favored the lovely Café Landtmann. Indulge in its famous apple
strudel with your afternoon coffee. Universitätsring 4; landtmann.at.
3. ISTANBUL: Set near the Grand Bazaar in a garden courtyard of an
eighteenth-century mosque, Corlulu Ali Pasa Medresesi is a direct
descendant of the Ottoman coffeehouses once found across the city.
Order a traditional Turkish-style coffee, in which the grounds are boiled
with water and sugar in a long-handled cezve pot. Many patrons linger for
hours while smoking hookahs. Yeniceriler Caddesi No.36/28, Beyazıt.
4. NEW ORLEANS: Few cities have a single café with the dominating renown
of Café Du Monde. Established in 1862 and always open, it's touristy, but
remains one of the best places in the French Quarter for people-watching
at any hour. You'll have a café au lait, made with the house coffee, which is
roasted with chicory, and a plate of sugar-dusted beignets. 800 Decatur
5. TRIESTE: In a city that consumes the most coffee per person in Italy and
is home to the legendary roaster Illy, the iconic spot for a perfectly pulled
espresso is Caffè San Marco. The café embraced its literary roots -
James Joyce and Italo Svevo are among those who have found inspiration
at its marble tables - by opening a bookstore inside. Pick up a copy of
Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere, Jan Morris' paean to the city, before
sitting down. Via Battisti 18; caffesanmarcotrieste.eu.
V I RT U O S O L I F E
(BOOK) CHRIS PLAVIDAL, (1) SANDRAC/ALAMY, (2) VIVIANE PONTI/GETTY IMAGES, (3) REBECCA EROL/ALAMY,
(4) DANI BURRY/ALAMY, (5) MICHAEL BROOKS/ALAMY
2. BUENOS AIRES: Café Las Violetas was founded in the Almagro barrio in
1884, and in the 1920s moved to its current building, resplendent with
high, ornate ceilings, curved stained glass, and Italian marble. Come for
the elegance - and for a plate of medialunas (small croissants) to accompany the coffee. On weekends, the café is open 24 hours a day. Avenida
Rivadavia 3899; lasvioletas.com.