Munich Greeter

Munich’s coffee culture part I

Vienna is known for coffee, while Munich is known (stereotypical) for beer. And of course Munich doesn’t have a “coffee-culture” like Vienna. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have a good coffee in Munich. Follow the Munich Greeters to Munich’s coffee culture…

A bit of history….
You won’t believe it, but Munich has a coffee culture but different to that one evolved in Vienna after the war against the Osman Empire. Munich had a strong connection to Italy and has it until today. Just think about the noumerous Italians flocking to the Oktoberfest every year ;-). Anyway, in the late 17th to the 19th century Munich became the “northernmost city of Italy” and not only because of the weather phenomenons,

Bbb at wikivoyage shared [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.

Cafe Tambosi (Bbb at wikivoyage shared [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.)

but also because of the architecture. Starting with princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, who married prince Maximilian I. of Bavaria. She was not only the wife of elector Maximilian I. but was also very interested in politics, arts, architecture and city development. So she brought many italian artists (architects, plasterers, painters, etc.) to Munich. And also the italian coffe culture was brought to the city. In 1775 the first concession to run an “italian coffee house” was granted to Giovanni Pietro Sardi. He was allowed to serve coffee, lemonade and chocolate in his “kiosk” right next to residence and

Traditional Rohr- and Schmalznudeln

Traditional Rohr- and Schmalznudeln served with coffee or tea

Hofgarten (Court Garden). In 1810 Luigi Tambosi, born in Rovereto near lake Garda, Italy leased the coffee house. In the early 19th century the square next to the residence and the street to the town of Schwabing were “redesigned”. Ludwig I. king of Bavaria loved italian and greek history as well as the arts. So he wanted to bring to the end what Henriette Adelaide began. The medieval Schwabing gate was demolished such as the nerby stables and also the small italian coffee house. The Odeonsplatz then got his shape we can see today. The Feldherrnhalle was built, the villas left and right of Ludwig-street as well as the so called “Bazar-Building” right next to the Hofgarten. This building replaced the old coffee house. In 1827 Luigi Tambosi finally bought the building for 30.000 fl. (bavarian “Gulden”). A really high number (the mayor of Munich earned about 10.000 fl. a year). A new italian coffee house was installed and you can find the “Café Tambosi” until today in this building. So the coffee was brought to Munich and the citizens loved it.
But when the italians brought coffee to Munich, why was espresso, cappuccino, etc. nearly unknown until the 1950s in Bavaria (and Germany)?
In Bavaria (and Germany) the coffee culture changed. Instead of small cups, coffee is usually served in mugs (“Haferl”). In the end of the 19th and beginning 20th century coffee was available for everyone (but it was still expensive). The coffee was cooked in big pots, especially poorer families used this coffee to fight hunger and to stay awake.



So they drank the black soup in larger amounts than just a cup. Maybe this lead to the Haferl, which is about 2 – 2.5 cups. Also the coffee was filtered which lead to the german style filter coffee. Everyone could produce filter coffee easily and therefore the preparation and consumption of coffee was not celebrated like in Italy or in Vienna. Until today filter coffee is the standard coffee you can order.

In the 1960s and 1970s as workers from Italy came to Germany and Bavaria they brought their coffee culture with them and italian coffee houses were opened as well as italian restaurants. Italian coffee specalities were also available in Munich. And in the late 1990s a new trend also arrived in Munich – American style coffee houses. Of course coffee shops like Starbucks opened in Munich and the people loved it, as they love their filter coffee, their Haferl and their espresso. So today you will find a mixture of different coffee cultures in Munich. Traditional cafe houses, serving Haferl and filter coffee as well as italian cafés with espresso, cappuccino and of course coffee shops with flavoured american styled coffee.

In part II you’ll learn about roasting houses in and around Munich.


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  2. Tolle Erklärung für den Titel der “nördlichste Stadt Italiens”!