On the edge of the city centre of Vienna, we find the charming oasis of El Café. With cheerful Latin American music in the background and a good cup of Peruvian coffee in our hands, we interviewed the owner Othmar Müller about his ‘Roast Atelier and Cafe’.
El Café in Vienna
It’s a busy October morning, but Müller finds time to tell us how he started El Café: “I owned a backery and coffee-pastry shop for many years which I handed over to my children in 2006 in preparation of my retirement.”
Because of this work Müller had always been in contact with coffee and wanted to know more about it. So he took coffee courses, became a certified coffee sommelier and visited many renowned European coffee roasteries to learn the craft of roasting coffee. And after this period he asked himself “What am I going to do with this knowledge?”
This is when he decided in 2012 at the age of 66 to pursue a new dream and open El Café under the Motto ‘Genuss, der verbindet’. Because enjoying a good cup of coffee not only connects people but also connects us with ourselves.
Good cup of coffee
We asked Müller what it takes to make a good cup of coffee. He explains that it consists of three parts: the quality of the green beans, the process of the roast and finally the preparation of the coffee. “So at least 67% of the quality is in my hands” he tells us with determination.
“First of all we buy high quality coffee directly from the coffee farmers or cooperatives and we make sure to pay them a fair price for it. Secondly as a roaster I choose to make single coffees (no blends or mixed) and apply a middle roast: the Wiener Röstfarbe. With this roast the complexity of the beans comes out, while the characteristics of the coffee itself are being preserved. I am also a member of the Austrian Qualitäts-Röster where we stand for quality roasting.”
Müller explains that the last and third part consists of the preparation of the coffee: the brewing process. This is in the hand of the customers that buy roasted coffee from El Café or in his hands when they drink coffee on the spot at his Roast Atelier.
Do you also have a special ingrediënt? Upon asking this question his eyes light up.
“Yes there is a special ingredient. Honesty and love for the product and the people. It’s about the will to serve an honest cup of coffee, made out of love for people and having fun doing it. Then you end up with a good cup of coffee.”
27 minutes of ‘Kaffeeglück’
At El Café in Vienna they aim to build a friendly and joyful bridge between coffee drinkers and coffee producers. Müller is convinced that we can learn something from the culture of south and middle America where people are happy with so little.
“Real happiness is not about what we own or what we are so busy about” the owner of El Café explains with passion in his eyes “It is our ability to truly enjoy the moment and the little things.” He goes on. “People who come there to enjoy a cup of coffee should be able to get up and leave after 27 minutes feeling completely relaxed.” Why 27 minutes? “Because people forget half an hour, but remember 27 minutes” Müller says smiling.
” ‘Kaffeeglück’ (or coffee happiness) is to step out of the daily rush and to enjoy the moment. Not burdened by sorrow or bad daily news, but with a pleasant taste in your mouth and the feeling that the world is allright.”
This is also the reason he chose to use warm, bright colours for El Café and its roaster and plays joyful Latin American music in the background. And indeed we found El Café an uplifting oasis in the Austrian capital.
Why Giesen Coffee Roasters?
It is now 3 years ago that El Café purchased a W6A Coffee Roaster and we asked Müller why he has chosen our roaster.
“Because at Giesen Coffee Roasters they stand for their product and provide good service. Their coffee roasters are robust and Giesen is specialised in artisan shop roasters. Good service is very important to me, especially because we do not live around the corner. When I have a problem I need to be supported well by phone. With Giesen Coffee Roasters I can rely on it.”