A follow up. I went to Taipei I-mei coffee was so so compare to Pintung cafe I went to week before. Not sure different beans or brewed poorly.
If they have tables, Imei is a cheap place to sit though. I just wouldn’t order coffee.
Some of those coffeeshops aren’t ‘the best’ because they are ridiculously overpriced or full of pretentious or noisy people. And some of them aren’t comfortable at all.
The key is to find places that feel comfortable—and where the quality and price point align based on your personal priorities (some like it cheap, some would prefer a better product…).
For me the problem with the high-end independent coffee shops in Taipei is that many (if not most) open around 1:00 pm! I can’t punt on half the working day, so these places are not for me.
I mostly don’t like the fancy independent ones because I don’t always feel comfortable in them. Some of them have rules about how long you can sit, their furniture is awkward, or they don’t have anywhere to plug in my computer or phone. Some places also charged me to plug in which was a pain.
For me there are three wants, good coffee is pretty easy to get in Taiwan
- being open (totally with you on that one )
- having enough space to feel comfortable
- not being too noisy
I’ve got a problem paying say, could be up to 200TWD, for a single origin from country XYZ, then the service staff dumps my and my coffee partner’s coffees in the middle of the table, without figuring who ordered what, and pisses off back to their facebook.
Often at the trendy places I’ve watched them pour out my filter, and it has looked quite rushed. The resulting brews have been generally quite watery and disappointing. Sometimes less is more. Maybe this tendency to large watery coffee is the American influence?
Opening hours as noted are designed for the uni student crowd, not worker drones like me that need AM caffeination.
People really pay up here for nice decor and environment.
Watery looking brews can be better (uncovering all the fruity and spicy notes) than heavy black brew that tastes like burned toast.
Definitely a fine line to thread to get it right.
This sounds like half-assed third wave coffee—which rejects the bold dark roasts of the second wave but manages to land closer to watery than delicious.
Agree with Brian it’s a fine line to thread.
Good beans, right roast, excellent skills.
Anyways, too many coffee places have espresso tasting like tar.
The trendy places in Taipei aim for the extreme fruity or floral—or “tea like.”
Sometimes I just want coffee that tastes like coffee!!!
Make your own ‘Turkish’ coffee, easy.
I don’t know what cafes you are going to. Almost all but old fuddy duddy cafes in Taipei have embraced third wave coffee, roasts are almost always medium to light.
The fuddy duddy ones can still be a treat. I would struggle to think of a more entertaining place to have a cup of coffee than say Fong Da in Ximending, just around the corner from the Red House.
But this is heading into old-school syphon coffee and pulling us away from espresso…
I actually had a nice espresso from Fong Da about three years ago. But it was definitely more like something you would drink in an Italian Tabacaria, no florals in there .
I will be back in Taipei with a stop in Douliu(visit a nice coffee shop). Any good espresso near the Heritage Bakery (if I remember right it’s the place for Carrot cake!) or just try espresso at Heritage?
As I remember it, the coffee drinks at Heritage are perfectly serviceable—but certainly not the star of the show. Happily, their carrot cake remains outstanding.
For a more interesting cup of coffee (including espresso), I would recommend MOUNTAIN KIDS (listed on google maps as MKCR / Mountain Kids Coffee Roaster 山小孩咖啡), located about five minutes away and directly facing Taipei’s historic north gate. They seem to rotate single original espresso beans and they will prepare your drink with care. I especially like their ice latte to go (with a discounted price for take away drinks). If the weather is OK, it’s a pleasure to sit outside enjoying the views of some of Taipei’s most historic and lovely buildings.
If you mention Guy do you get a discount ?
Nah I don’t have that much pull.
Plus I want these guys to stay in business!
Competition is getting stiff. A coffee shop has opened right next door to Mountain Kids, offering the same North Gate view and alfresco dining. That plaza is turning out to be Taipei’s version of Arc de Triomphe.