Ignore the ice cream, cream and fresh fruit – delicious though they were.
Notice the coffee cup accompanied by a glass of water.
The first time I was in Vienna I had some time to kill so I went into one of the local coffee shops for a cup of coffee and a cake. They don’t rush you in those places. They let you stay there as long as you want and I was people-watching, seeing people reading books, kaffeeklatsching. I also noticed that they all had a glass of clear liquid served with their coffee.
After a while I struck up conversation with another customer (who had taken my seat when I went to get another pastry) and asked her if everyone was drinking schnapps or something similar with their coffee.
She laughed and explained that it was traditional to serve water with coffee to stop you dehydrating. It was odd that they hadn’t given me a glass of water but the staff had obviously seen through my schoolboy German and realised I was a foreigner. To make up for this sleight she bought me a glass of local firewater. So all ended well.
The next time I had a glass of water served with my coffee was in the old town in Stockholm. I mentioned to the cafe owner that it reminded me of Vienna and surprise, surprise, that’s where his family had come from before emigrating to Sweden.
So was it the habit in Munster too I asked the restaurant manager? No it wasn’t but the restaurant team had decided it would be a nice thing to do and mark them out as being different from other restaurants. Nice customer service!
I’ve posted before on a (pram-free) coffee shop in Germany so click here for that and other posts on coffee