Czech coffee culture
Vienna was the capital of the Hapsburg Empire, known as the café city, and its traditions influenced café culture in cities like Prague, Budapest, and Krakow. Today, Prague has developed its own café culture, complete with cafes on every corner, and an espresso machine in every bar and fine restaurant.
Czech Coffee menus are very straightforward. You won’t find a plethora of flavors and mixes, instead, coffee menus are simple, highlighting only the traditional recipes.
A flat white in the Czech Republic is an espresso with steamed milk, but without the frothy foam of a cappuccino. Espresso shots can be short, meaning stronger, or long, meaning a bit more diluted with water. A macchiato is actually more similar to a mini cappuccino, with a shot of espresso and a dollop of foamed milk. Do not be alarmed to find a small cup of water on the table. According to the Viennese tradition it is meant to act as a palate cleanser after enjoying a coffee beverage. In Prague, this tradition is mostly reserved for the higher end cafes.
Hot chocolate in Prague seems to be an art form of its own. In the Czech Republic baristas melting real chocolate pieces into freshly steamed milk when making a hot chocolate. The thick drinking chocolate is rich and creamy and the perfect treat on a cold winter night.
The mass appreciation for coffee (or kava in Czech) is a fairly good indicator of the Czech culture. An American can be quickly distinguished in a crowd – they are holding a thermos or take away coffee cup. Czechs enjoy their coffee in a seated position, not far from the machine that produced it. Coffee drinking is a leisurely sport, and is often accompanied by good conversation and a Biscoff cookie.