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 beans—sometimes 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.Read More