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Where to Drink Coffee in Taipei

A new coffee culture is brewing in Taipei.

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There’s a quiet revolution brewing on the narrow streets of Taiwan's capital, Taipei. In a country where tea is practically a national treasure, another beverage is surprisingly, and slowly, taking over. That concoction is coffee, and virtually everywhere now there's a stand dedicated to the cult of caffeine.

Coffee shops in Taipei are dizzyingly numerous. Though they've been around for decades now, the city's coffee community only recently began to bloom with the introduction of barista competitions. It's a tight-knit group.

Van Lin, an esteemed barista and the owner of Taipei's Gabee Coffee, an award-winning cafe in the Songshan District, says that the number of coffee shops are most definitely up to the thousands: "Roasters alone add up to at least 3,000." And in Taipei, the design of a coffee shop is as paramount to the shop’s identity as it’s beanssometimes even more so.

Per Lin, "What makes Taipei's coffee scene unique is its diversity." Each cafe offers a distinct atmosphere. Some are accessorized by live cats, while others insist on a no-loud-talking policy. Drink-wise, each owner has his/her own speciality. One will find fanciful lattes, perfectly proportioned cappuccinos, and simplistic pour-over brews. Lin traces Taiwan's romance with coffee to the Japanese occupation of Taiwan from 1895 to 1945. The Japanese brought in coffee brewing techniques by way of Japan, and as more immigrants came in from China, different styles of brewing began to grow. Below, the finest places to re-caffeinate in Taipei.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cafe Dog and Cats 貓花園

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Fuhua Rd, Shilin District
Taipei City, Taiwan 111
02 2835 3335
In all honestly, the coffee menu at Cafe Dog and Cats is rather standard. It’s mostly composed of lattes, and though the cafe does a pretty good job with them, what makes this Shilin District caffeine stop worth the visit is its history. Opened in 1998, it is the first cat cafe in the world. There’s a $4 minimum order fee (no doubt to prevent loiters), and the interior has a bevy of cats and a couple of dogs. The dogs are tied up; the cats, all adorably tame, roam around freely and sip from unsuspecting customers’ cups. It’s a unique way to spend a day and a noncommittal way to be in the company of dozens of cats.
Clarissa Wei

2. Coffee Sweet

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中山北路一段33巷20弄3號
Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2521 0631
Tucked behind a small park, Coffee Sweet does not encourage customers to linger. The 25-seat cafe does not have Wi-Fi, but it does have an impressive turnover rate. The menu is fixated on bean quality, and Coffee Sweet is known for having the best siphon coffee in town. Management meticulously selects its beans (mostly from Panama and Ethiopia), listing origins for savvy customers. Skip the lattes and cappuccinos here—the coffee is best when appreciated in its barest form.
Clarissa Wei

3. Fika Fika Cafe

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伊通街33號1樓, Zhongshan Qu
T’ai-pei Shih 104, Taiwan
+886 2 2507 0633
Visit Website
Fika is a Swedish term that means "coffee break," and this award-winning cafe (Fika represented Taiwan in the Nordic Roaster competition in 2013 and took home first place) offers just that. Fika specializes in AeroPress-brewed, Nordic-style coffee. But the shop—whose stunning white interior looks straight out of an IKEA catalogue—also offers sparkling espresso, rosetta-laced lattes, and freshly baked goods to pair with all the caffeine.
Clarissa Wei

4. Fujin Tree 353 Cafe by Simple Kaffa

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富錦街353號, Taipei
105, Taiwan
+886 2 2749 5225
Fujin Tree is a bit out of the way from the city center, but it's worth the trek if you’re looking for a marvelous cappuccino. The milk and espresso is rationed out perfectly, and the cap of foam is layered on with just the right consistency. The cappuccino is enough reason to visit this cafe, but if you’re seeking out something a bit more unique, consider the dark brown sugar latte. It’s ethereal. The froth is sprinkled with brown sugar. Oh, and cafe owner Berg Wu was the 2014 Barista Champion of Taiwan.
Clarissa Wei

5. Gabee

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民生東路三段113巷12號
Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2713 8772
Visit Website
Gabee means coffee in Taiwanese, and owner Van Lin is well-decorated and well-known in national barista circles. He opened Gabee in 2004, and a month later he won the Taiwan Latte Art Championship. Lin has collected a total of seven awards and placed 14th in the World Barista Championship. Compared to other coffee shops, Gabee's menu is rather extensive. There’s carbonated coffee and a rather fascinating repertoire of concoctions that take advantage of Taiwan’s seasonal gourds and vegetables. There’s a sweet potato coffee that is, in short, Taiwan’s answer to pumpkin spice latte. It’s hearty, sweet, and topped with a slice of caramelized potato. There’s also a white gourd coffee, and watermelon coffee topped with cubes of fresh melon. “I like playing around with different combinations,” says Lin.
Clarissa Wei

6. Rufous Coffee

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復興南路二段339號
Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2736 6880
Rufous specializes in single origin coffees and offers fantastic pour-overs. The rustic, 35-seat eatery has been a local favorite for eight years now, and is defined by an interior decked out in dark mahogany wood. Rufous roasts all of its beans in house. The Panama La Esmeralda Geisha blend is a lovely place to start. It’s remarkably smooth, with a subtle sour aftertaste. Latte lovers can delight in wonderful almond and hazelnut concoctions, and those who want a little bit more than just a standard pick-me-up can indulge in rum-drenched coffee with a dollop of ice cream.
Clarissa Wei

7. Woolloomooloo

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信義路四段379號
Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 8789 0128
Wooloomooloo is an Aussie caffeine spot with an industrial vibe and long wooden butcher tables. Their signature drink is a flat white served in a glass, and they have a sustainable food menu to accompany it (try the homemade sourdough bread and meat pies). Beans are shipped over from Australia, and if you want something more than just coffee, consider their beer and wine selection. Like the coffee, they prioritize Australian brands. It’s a taste of Oz in center of Taiwan.
Clarissa Wei

8. 巢 nido

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忠孝東路四段553巷22弄10號, Taipei
110, Taiwan
+886 2 2753 4402
Nido is a hushed coffee shop decorated in origami flower lights. It offers a purposeful, minimalistic menu with a no question policy. Seriously—the menu literally says “No more question. Just wait for coffee.” Options are laid out like a flowchart, and customers must decide between coffee black or with milk, hot or cold. The barista asks a simple question—whether or not you want your coffee strong or light and then he/she takes it from there. Nido expects patrons to trust the process and allow baristas to concoct a beverage that appropriately highlights the coffee beans' natural flavor. “If the menu is too complicated, people don’t know what they want,” says owner Bruce Yang. Coffee is brewed via hand press or French drip, and Yang makes all the desserts (he makes a great cheesecake) himself.
Clarissa Wei

9. 楽楽咖啡 Cafe LakuLaku

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大安路一段19巷16號, Taipei
106, Taiwan
+886 2 2771 5108
Lakulaku is great for groups who have diverse tastes. Located in the bustling heart of Taipei, Lakulaku offers an extensive list of 10 alcoholic coffee beverages. Start off with an iced Baileys latte with a shot of cocoa or a cup of Cognac coffee. The cafe also prepares a wonderful latte spiked with ginger—which is known for its warming properties. Of course, Lakulaku also caters to minimalists who just want their coffee black. Quality is superb. Beans come from Kenya, Costa Rica, Panama and Ethiopia.

10. 野餐咖啡 Picnic

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溫州街75號, Taipei
106, Taiwan
+886 2 2368 7798
Visit Website
Picnic is located in Taipei's bustling Da’an District, right next to National Taiwan University, where one will find a high concentration of quaint cafes that exist to service the student population. It’s dense there; every block has at least one or two coffee shops. Picnic stands out for its marvelous scones and solid cup of joe, in addition its unique design, reminiscent of a warm, impeccably clean cottage. Order a full-bodied cappuccino and supplement with a strawberry-decorated scone plus homemade jam and mascarpone.
Clarissa Wei

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1. Cafe Dog and Cats 貓花園

Fuhua Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Clarissa Wei
In all honestly, the coffee menu at Cafe Dog and Cats is rather standard. It’s mostly composed of lattes, and though the cafe does a pretty good job with them, what makes this Shilin District caffeine stop worth the visit is its history. Opened in 1998, it is the first cat cafe in the world. There’s a $4 minimum order fee (no doubt to prevent loiters), and the interior has a bevy of cats and a couple of dogs. The dogs are tied up; the cats, all adorably tame, roam around freely and sip from unsuspecting customers’ cups. It’s a unique way to spend a day and a noncommittal way to be in the company of dozens of cats.
Fuhua Rd, Shilin District
Taipei City, Taiwan 111

2. Coffee Sweet

中山北路一段33巷20弄3號, Taipei, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Tucked behind a small park, Coffee Sweet does not encourage customers to linger. The 25-seat cafe does not have Wi-Fi, but it does have an impressive turnover rate. The menu is fixated on bean quality, and Coffee Sweet is known for having the best siphon coffee in town. Management meticulously selects its beans (mostly from Panama and Ethiopia), listing origins for savvy customers. Skip the lattes and cappuccinos here—the coffee is best when appreciated in its barest form.
中山北路一段33巷20弄3號
Taipei, Taiwan

3. Fika Fika Cafe

伊通街33號1樓, Zhongshan Qu, T’ai-pei Shih 104, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Fika is a Swedish term that means "coffee break," and this award-winning cafe (Fika represented Taiwan in the Nordic Roaster competition in 2013 and took home first place) offers just that. Fika specializes in AeroPress-brewed, Nordic-style coffee. But the shop—whose stunning white interior looks straight out of an IKEA catalogue—also offers sparkling espresso, rosetta-laced lattes, and freshly baked goods to pair with all the caffeine.
伊通街33號1樓, Zhongshan Qu
T’ai-pei Shih 104, Taiwan

4. Fujin Tree 353 Cafe by Simple Kaffa

富錦街353號, Taipei, 105, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Fujin Tree is a bit out of the way from the city center, but it's worth the trek if you’re looking for a marvelous cappuccino. The milk and espresso is rationed out perfectly, and the cap of foam is layered on with just the right consistency. The cappuccino is enough reason to visit this cafe, but if you’re seeking out something a bit more unique, consider the dark brown sugar latte. It’s ethereal. The froth is sprinkled with brown sugar. Oh, and cafe owner Berg Wu was the 2014 Barista Champion of Taiwan.
富錦街353號, Taipei
105, Taiwan

5. Gabee

民生東路三段113巷12號, Taipei, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Gabee means coffee in Taiwanese, and owner Van Lin is well-decorated and well-known in national barista circles. He opened Gabee in 2004, and a month later he won the Taiwan Latte Art Championship. Lin has collected a total of seven awards and placed 14th in the World Barista Championship. Compared to other coffee shops, Gabee's menu is rather extensive. There’s carbonated coffee and a rather fascinating repertoire of concoctions that take advantage of Taiwan’s seasonal gourds and vegetables. There’s a sweet potato coffee that is, in short, Taiwan’s answer to pumpkin spice latte. It’s hearty, sweet, and topped with a slice of caramelized potato. There’s also a white gourd coffee, and watermelon coffee topped with cubes of fresh melon. “I like playing around with different combinations,” says Lin.
民生東路三段113巷12號
Taipei, Taiwan

6. Rufous Coffee

復興南路二段339號, Taipei, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Rufous specializes in single origin coffees and offers fantastic pour-overs. The rustic, 35-seat eatery has been a local favorite for eight years now, and is defined by an interior decked out in dark mahogany wood. Rufous roasts all of its beans in house. The Panama La Esmeralda Geisha blend is a lovely place to start. It’s remarkably smooth, with a subtle sour aftertaste. Latte lovers can delight in wonderful almond and hazelnut concoctions, and those who want a little bit more than just a standard pick-me-up can indulge in rum-drenched coffee with a dollop of ice cream.
復興南路二段339號
Taipei, Taiwan

7. Woolloomooloo

信義路四段379號, Taipei, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Wooloomooloo is an Aussie caffeine spot with an industrial vibe and long wooden butcher tables. Their signature drink is a flat white served in a glass, and they have a sustainable food menu to accompany it (try the homemade sourdough bread and meat pies). Beans are shipped over from Australia, and if you want something more than just coffee, consider their beer and wine selection. Like the coffee, they prioritize Australian brands. It’s a taste of Oz in center of Taiwan.
信義路四段379號
Taipei, Taiwan

8. 巢 nido

忠孝東路四段553巷22弄10號, Taipei, 110, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Nido is a hushed coffee shop decorated in origami flower lights. It offers a purposeful, minimalistic menu with a no question policy. Seriously—the menu literally says “No more question. Just wait for coffee.” Options are laid out like a flowchart, and customers must decide between coffee black or with milk, hot or cold. The barista asks a simple question—whether or not you want your coffee strong or light and then he/she takes it from there. Nido expects patrons to trust the process and allow baristas to concoct a beverage that appropriately highlights the coffee beans' natural flavor. “If the menu is too complicated, people don’t know what they want,” says owner Bruce Yang. Coffee is brewed via hand press or French drip, and Yang makes all the desserts (he makes a great cheesecake) himself.
忠孝東路四段553巷22弄10號, Taipei
110, Taiwan

9. 楽楽咖啡 Cafe LakuLaku

大安路一段19巷16號, Taipei, 106, Taiwan
Lakulaku is great for groups who have diverse tastes. Located in the bustling heart of Taipei, Lakulaku offers an extensive list of 10 alcoholic coffee beverages. Start off with an iced Baileys latte with a shot of cocoa or a cup of Cognac coffee. The cafe also prepares a wonderful latte spiked with ginger—which is known for its warming properties. Of course, Lakulaku also caters to minimalists who just want their coffee black. Quality is superb. Beans come from Kenya, Costa Rica, Panama and Ethiopia.
大安路一段19巷16號, Taipei
106, Taiwan

10. 野餐咖啡 Picnic

溫州街75號, Taipei, 106, Taiwan
Clarissa Wei
Picnic is located in Taipei's bustling Da’an District, right next to National Taiwan University, where one will find a high concentration of quaint cafes that exist to service the student population. It’s dense there; every block has at least one or two coffee shops. Picnic stands out for its marvelous scones and solid cup of joe, in addition its unique design, reminiscent of a warm, impeccably clean cottage. Order a full-bodied cappuccino and supplement with a strawberry-decorated scone plus homemade jam and mascarpone.
溫州街75號, Taipei
106, Taiwan

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