The history of Austria’s capital is inconceivable without its coffeehouses. The Blue Bottle Coffee House, which opened in 1686, was one of Europe’s first. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, artists and philosophers would gather at Viennese coffeehouses to read, work, and debate—some were so wed to the routine, mail carriers would deliver their letters directly to their preferred cafes.
This short documentary, filmed by Orlando Gili and produced by Jungles in Paris, considers the place of the coffeehouse in modern Vienna. Inside two Viennese institutions, Café Sperl and Café Hawelka, coffeehouse owners discuss how old-world culture has survived amid cups of melange and plates of buchteln. “In other parts of the world you have new, modern things. But the old things, I think, are more important,” says Gunther Hawelka, whose family opened their cafe in 1939.
One more thing: Fans of Before Sunrise should pay close attention to the scenes filmed inside Café Sperl. They’ll look very familiar.
This feature originally appeared in The Atlantic.
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