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Coffee In Taiwan

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  • Coffee In Taiwan

    Taichung City

    Retro/mojocoffee: Both shops are owned by Scott.  He roasts and sells his own beans, and he stamps the roast date on the bags (always a good sign).  He also sells a few coffee-brewing accessories (AeroPress, Bodum, Abid).  He makes it a point to keep current on new developments in coffee, which means he knows what a low-temperature cappuccino is, among other things.  Both locations offer free wireless internet (but he turns it off at the mojocoffee store on the weekends).  Most of his staff speak at least some English.

    Retro is the bigger and newer of the two shops.  In addition to espresso-based drinks, it also offers daily single-origin coffees in either French press, drip, or Clover. [address: [ch21488][ch20013][ch24066][ch20116][ch27402][ch35199][ch36335][ch19968][ch27573]116[ch34399]; 116, Wu Chuan West Road, Section 1, Taichung City, TEL. (04)2375-5592; close to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; open 9:30am - 11:00pm]

    Mojocoffee is the original shop.  It is smaller and older, but some of the regulars like it because its cozy. [address: [ch21488][ch20013][ch24066][ch22823][ch26989][ch36335]230[ch34399]; 230 Da Ye Road, Taichung City, TEL. (04)2328-9448; open 8:30am - 11:00pm Mon. to Fri., closes at 6:00pm on weekends)

    Orsir: One of the most established coffee shops in Taichung.  They offer espresso-based coffees and vac pot (if you dont know how to say vac pot in Chinese, just say siphon as the Chinese and English words sound almost the same).  They sell a lot of beans, and I mean a lot.  I had a coffee in there one time and couldnt believe the number of people who popped in and out just for coffee beans.  They also sell a variety of good quality brewing equipment.  

    One thing unusual was that one of the owners sampled every cup of vac-pot coffee before it was served tot he customer (vac pot is a popular method in Taiwan, but most places do it very poorly; this is the only place in Taiwan where Ive actually enjoyed vac pot). I believe the owners speak English, Im not sure about the staff, but you should have no trouble ordering.   [address: Ill post the correct address later]

    Buggy Cafe: Thats buggy as in insects, not the small car or the small horse-drawn carriage.  They offer a very, very extensive range of vac-pot coffee and smoothies, in addition to espresso-based coffee.  The shop also sells cheaper brewing equipment and coffee beans.  However, even though they put the roast date on the bags, they still stamp a one-year best-before date, which makes me question the age of the beans in the grinder.  Unfortunately, they list their beans rather generically (Brazil, Kenya, Columbia), rather than tracing them down to regions, cooperatives, or farms.   They also didnt seem too familiar with a low-temperature cappuccino, which they ended up serving a little too hot and, to my mind, a little burnt tasting. [address: [ch21488][ch20013][ch24066][ch21335][ch23663][ch21312][ch22823][ch22697]11[ch34903]299[ch34399]; 299, Da Dun 11th Street, South District, Taichung City, TEL. 04-23282348; very near Wen Xin Road; open 10:00am - 10:30pm Sun. - Thu, and 10:00am - 12:00 am Fri. and Sat.]

    A couple of things to note:

    - Retro is my local haunt.  
    - I think Buggy and Retro are the most comfortable of the above shops.
    - The staff at all of the above shops were very friendly and, interestingly enough, attractive young women.
    - All of the above shops are a cut above the franchises (see below)

    Taiwan also has three main franchises: Starbucks, 85°C, and Barista Coffee.  Starbucks and Barista Coffee are almost the same.  85°C is more of a take-out coffee shop, but they do have some limited seating, usually outdoors on busy streets.

    Ill try to post more regarding the above shops and others at a later date.  Ill also try to list some Taipei shops as thats where most visitors to Taiwan end up going.

  • #2
    Re: Coffee In Taiwan

    Orsirs address is:

    14, Wu Chuan Road, West District, Taichung City
    TEL. (04)2221-2828
    open 10:30am - 10:00pm


    • #3
      Re: Coffee In Taiwan

      Okay, I just have to add this about Orsir, as it may (or may not) interest people:

      Joe Hsu, the owner and greens buyer for Orsir, is heavily involved with the Cup of Excellence program, being a lifetime member of the organization and a member of several international juries.  


      • #4
        Re: Coffee In Taiwan

        Heres another one in Taichung City:

        Café Lulu - This one is located in a rather small-but-quaint alley, surrounded by some decent restaurants and apartment buildings.  Its owned by a couple who dont subscribe to the traditional Taiwanese concept of coffee (extremely dark-roasted, bitter coffee).  They prefer coffees with more acidity than what is normally found here.  The shop is small (and a little disorganized), but the selection is worth it.  Not only do they offer espresso-based drinks (yes, shell make a low-temperature cappuccino for you), they also offer vac pot, moka pot, drip, and iced.  The great deal here is that, for one price, you can get a second cup.  It doesnt even have to be the same bean or brewing method.

        If youre looking for someplace fancy, this may not be it.  Retro is probably the fanciest of the ones Ive listed; Orsir is the most traditionally-styled.  All of them offer great coffee.  A big plus for Café Lulu is the price of roasted beans.  The average traveler isnt usually interested in picking up beans, but if you are, this may be a good place to consider.  But take note: they usually roast their beans lighter than average, so make sure you specify roast degree. The owners wife speaks decent English, so ordering and discussing coffee wont be a problem. [address: [ch21488][ch20013][ch24066][ch21271][ch21312][ch20116][ch24120][ch34903]217[ch34399]; 217 WuChang Street, North District, Taichung City, (04)2206-6866; open 1:00pm - 9:00pm, closed Thursdays]

        Map on Google


        • #5
          Anyone know where you can get a decent shot in Taipei? Searching online I find comments like "they do a great sweet potato/coffee combo drink" - not really my thing!


          • #6
            Yeah I hear you on that. It is hard to find something that is not in a giant mug, think of a flat white in Australia, with a mug 4x the size. I tried the syphon at Fong Da, which I liked. It's not a fancy place, and looks like a run down RSL bistro. I believe they sell roasted beans there too if you want to pick some up for home. I drink black and espresso. I never tried the espresso there, but you could give it a try maybe? It's near Ximen metro station.
            Taiwan Loves Coffee - Fong Da Coffee (

            Other than that, it will depend on where you are I suppose, maybe browse the linked coffee blog for the latest and greatest? It's been a couple of years since I was last there so a lot will have changed....


            • #7
              I'm up here at the moment, and discovered this little place in the Da An district if anyone finds this helpful:

              Magic Lamp coffee

              神燈咖啡 106, Taiwan, Taipei City, Da’an District, Section 1, Da'an Road, 193-1號

              Usual Taiwanese megacinos on offer, but a nice little side menu of hand drip single origins. El Salvador at the moment is my favourite, roasted to a nice point for my palate. The good thing about ordering filter up here is it is ground to deliver a good extraction, as people seem to like the coffee generally quite strong (i.e forget the whole third wave reductionism about coffee being brewed more like tea if you've heard that before) and the roasts aren't ridiculously light like they often are in Sydney.


              • #8
                My go to up in Taipei this time was

                No.95 Fujin Street
                Songshan District, 台北市 105

                Nice espresso and long blacks. Something that really bugged me, every coffee order was served in a Duralex type glass.