The first Polish café in Vienna and coffee with milk
Although the custom of brewing coffee did not catch on in Poland right away, it is worth remembering that Vienna cafés owe their fame to a Pole – Jerzy Kulczycki.
He used his knowledge of the Turkish language during the siege of Vienna of 1683; as a spy, he forced his way through the Turkish camp twice and obtained an assurance of the upcoming relief led by King John III Sobieski. This had an impact on the decision to continue the defence of the city.
After winning the battle and repelling the Turkish offensive, John III Sobieski and the rulers of Vienna decided to reward Kulczycki for his service, allowing him to select anything he wanted from the spoils of war, and to pursue any occupation. Contrary to expectations, he did not choose bags of gold or lengths of expensive fabrics, but bags of coffee. He also had the privilege of founding the first public café in Vienna.
According to tradition, the Pole was also the author of a recipe for coffee with milk. At first, he served black coffee in his café, but it seemed too bitter to many customers and did not enjoy great popularity. Everything changed when Kulczycki sweetened the coffee taste and softened its aroma with milk and honey.
To this day, Viennese café owners consider him their patron. One of the streets in the capital of Austria is named after Kulczycki.
In Poland, Kulczycki is still a little-known figure, although in 2009 his image appeared on commemorative stamps.
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