TheTaipeiCup

You eying the drip?

As someone who enjoys writing, but busies himself with so many other things that always push writing projects into the backseat, I have to say, I am very excited to get this first post up for this new section of my blog. I am no stranger to procrastination (please refer to my entire education) and I can be lazy if what I want to do on my computer feels even the least bit tedious. I mean, it’s been over two years since I started to craft and shape this vision. I left Taiwan for Australia quite convinced that I would be able to crank this thing out, page by page, without dragging my feet. And yet, here we are. Nonetheless, I am still the huge appreciator of coffee and coffee culture that I have always been, which has provided plenty of time to be seated at home, or at a nice coffee shop, where I can pour my coffee onto the page. No,… wait. I mean I can pour my thoughts into a mug. Hm, that’s not right either…
You see what I’m getting at –> Coffee + time = a blog (eventually).

Perhaps my blog has sat on the stove long enough to become more of an ode than an up-to-date recommendations list. “Better late than never though” – something I need to remember. Not because I want an excuse for procrastinating, but rather because all too often I try to do so many different projects in the same day, leading me to feel frustrated when I don’t get enough done.



First in foremost, I must make it known that this will not be a comprehensive list of all of Taipei’s coffee shops with categorical ratings of ambiance, bean quality, or value per cup. It’s not that those aren’t important to me, or that these elements will be absent from this blog. Rather, I don’t want this particular coffee blog to be your average ‘Taipei traveler’s guide’ to finding cafes for lunch or study, or strictly for hipster business. No need to compete with Travelguide-esque sites and IG hashtags when what I really want to do is compile an articulate list of the best spots in and around town to experience coffee at. I don’t want to call them cafes or coffee shops either, but instead, coffee spots. That’s really just because so many places in Taipei labeled as either coffee shop or cafe tend have a misleading nature about them. All too often I end up walking into a space imagined for “Western style” brunching or created for coffee tasting, and it doesn’t match the vibe I’m seeking. “Spots” refers to any place that one can enjoy a nice cup of coffee, provided by a vendor.

So for this coffee spot blog, we’re going to be seeking and assessing aesthetics, menu options, location, barista dynamics and taste; all found in the capital of East Asia’s most prolific little island. Between the reader and myself, we can strive to find a shared appreciation for each spot’s delightful qualities and elevated experience.



身為一個喜歡把自己的日子排得連一點點休息時間都沒有的人,更別說有什麼寫文章的時間,我真的好興奮終於發布作品了。拖延症是我的一位老朋友,以前教過我的老師們都能作證。尤其是需要使用電腦完成的話,我一碰到瑣碎的事即刻三心二意。兩年都過了但同一個目標還在整理中。我那時候剛從台灣去到澳洲,就以為部落格寫一寫,改一改,很快就可以弄完及PO上網。可是實際上好像沒那麼容易。但,話雖如此,我基本上還是個咖啡與咖啡文化的重度沈迷者,所以肯定會有夠多的機會讓我嘔心瀝血,無論是坐在家裡或出門 ⋯ 等一下,該說嘔咖啡瀝。。。咖啡?不,大家要誤會我到底在吐什麼東西。算了,重點是:咖啡 + 時間 = 部落格(最終的),懂嗎?

我的部落格或許已經醞釀了老半天,所以不像嶄新的目錄,比較像「頌詩」。我必須要不時被提醒“亡羊補牢”。不是為了取藉口來交代過去自己的遲滯,而是因為常常想趕在一朝一夕內做完很多事。但,做不夠完整總讓我很焦慮,到底什麼時候才可以完成它?


首先必須說清楚一點,這篇名單的目的不是為了編輯或評論臺北的咖啡館的氣氛、豆質、或是每杯CP值等。雖然我認為比較的評論很重要,而且這些也會出現在我部落格裡面。重點是我不想要把這個部落格當成那種給參觀臺北兼尋求網美店、或者只是因為附近的星巴克不方便走所以想找類似地方的觀光客看。他們可以用IG的#標籤或是找旅遊遊記就好了。在台北市和圍繞在新北市區域中有意思的咖啡店並不少。我想歡迎所有對台北咖啡地點有興趣跟好奇的朋友瀏覽一下這段:你們就是我鎖定的讀者。而且我次要的目標是阻止別人像我以前常受困(很迷惘)的一個狀態:被偽劣的西式早午餐、太商業性的咖啡店 擺了一大道。所以我不會把名單上的地方叫做《館、廳》或《店》,而叫—地點。任何有販賣咖啡的地方不論它的形式,只要能讓人享受在其中,都能當作所謂的“地點”。

因此,這個咖啡地點部落格將以使用美學、菜單選項、選址、咖啡師活力跟味道來探索和分析 — 所有都可以在東亞州中最多樣化的小島之首都找到。這樣一來,我與讀者們才會對每一個地點的優點和渲染性的經驗有更深的共識。


Jackwell’s Coffee

This shop earns first mention because it was the first and only coffee spot I was introduced to in my early weeks after moving to Taipei that I have continued to visit consistently since. Once I had a cup of their satisfying and fair priced coffee, I knew that Taipei was likely to have other desirable spots like it; well-crafted coffee in unique places: tucked away in the corners, alleyways, and obscure mountain roads of Taiwan’s most bustling city. 

At Jackwell’s you can get a nice cup of black coffee in the ever popular ‘Americano’ style, for 45 NTD. Incidentally, the price of an Americano is precisely how I judge any cafe’s pricing when I poke my head in to check it out. I should include my modest confusion with the popularity of Americanos in some countries outside of the US. I mean, people drink them at home, but hardly enough for us to spearhead the moniker, even if the idea for black coffee drowned in hot water was inspired by American drip (or honestly our love of watering down most things just to increase portion size). Either way, this American had ordered his first cup of salvation.

For the purpose of staying on task, which I am impressively bad at, let’s look at the best qualities that Jackwell pushes over the counter. If, like me, you enjoy the youtube tracks of busy coffee shops in the rain, then you might like Jackwell just the same. On the other hand, anyone who is easily distracted when they work might have trouble staying on task here, namely me. But for some, this could function as white noise to play in the background of whatever you project or book you bring with you. The next thing you’d notice is that “space” in the narrow corridor where you line up to order and pick up your coffee is not really space at all. But rather than deem these all as negative aspects, I find that they help shape Jackwell’s most attractive feature. I come to Jackwell’s for, above anything else, the bustling ambiance. 

So to paint the scene: it’s maybe an hour or so before Taipei’s lunch rush and you’ve spotted a vacant seat in the outside corridor. You put your stuff down because you feel safe enough to do so in Taiwan… but maybe you’ll still keep your phone with you instead of leaving it out on the bench. The very charming and knowledgeable staff take your order and you get another stamp on your card that will soon add up to a free coffee. The air is thickening, becoming richer with the smell of brewing coffee and the tension of the lunch rush that will briefly occupy Guting’s streets and stores before returning back to the usual hum of less hurried foot traffic. Jackwell’s, with its quality-made and fair-priced coffee, delivered to you by friendly baristas, and all from within the shop’s cozy walls, acts as a comfortable barrier between you and your metropolis surroundings. It won’t be quiet, though. So if that’s what you are looking for, I suggest my next spot.

捷克威爾

首先是一間在古亭區,從我大學畢業回來台灣長住後,第一個馬上看中的小地方叫 — 傑克威爾。這裏是同學介紹我,說下課後帶我去,從那時起傑克威爾就多了一個投資人(我)。一喝到他們平價又動心的咖啡,我就開始認為在台北「這個小島上最熱鬧的都市中」應該也會有其他務必去的咖啡地方—特別是這麼精心製作的咖啡還位在不簡單的地方:藏於市區稜角、巷裡、迢迢山路上的良地。

在傑克威爾一杯保證熱門的美式泡法黑咖啡只要45元台幣,很不錯。順帶一提,我平常會以美式咖啡的價錢判斷那間咖啡廳值不值得拜訪。美式咖啡為何在其他國家是這麼受歡迎的?而且絕對要叫做“美式”的作法?我也不清楚。雖然在美國大部分的人都喝濾泡式咖啡,但所謂的Americano還並不受所有飲咖啡的人喜愛。這個泡法搞不好就是來自於美國人喜愛大份量所以寧願加更多水的習慣。總之,這位美國人有點到他第一杯救贖。

Coming in through the alley entrance at a somewhat busy time

我承認自己很容易離題,雖然一直都這樣,但是為了接下來要說的東西,我麻煩大家繼續往下滑,看關於這間店優缺點的小介紹。如果你跟我同類的話,是喜歡打開Youtube聽那種“熱鬧咖啡店”的音樂清單,傑克威爾就能幫你放輕鬆。但另一方面,像我一樣容易分心的人也許會覺得裡面吵到渾然無法集中精神,不過十顆咖啡豆有長有短。有的人可以把嘈吵當成工作的背景白噪音。接著,你應該會發現在這間咖啡店裡點餐的走廊窄得令人無法記起“空間”本來的意思。講了這麼多,你們不要誤會,這些在我眼中都不是缺點,而是互補的特徵—傑克威爾的意義就是在它的熱鬧氣氛中。

我來描述一下場景:再過一個鐘頭,台北市區的午飯尖峰時間就要開始,你剛好見到在外頭的空位,而你很輕鬆自在地放下包包,因為這是台灣嘛,這裡不會有人偷東西,可是…手機的話,你還是留在身上比較好。點咖啡時,站在櫃檯後,很有知識且有魅力的員工們為你服務,然後在咖啡卡上蓋一枚章。喝完十杯可以拿這個來換杯免費咖啡。這時,空氣變得越來越濃厚,隨著沖泡咖啡的氣味加上「正中午」外面商店及街道更加緊湊:整個氣氛在醞釀中。一旦大家吃完飯後,街道才會逐漸恢復成一般的人流。舒適的店內、優質且價格公道的咖啡、還有咖啡師們熱情的服務:傑克威爾就可以成為你在周遭大都市環境之下的避風港,只是,不會是安靜的。所以如果安靜才是你的菜,下一個地點我很推薦。

Feng-Ti Coffee

This next spot isn’t the second place I went to, nor my second favorite, but it contrasts nicely with the previous spot’s overwhelming presence. Atop Taipei’s “Five Finger Mountain” sits a seemingly delicate sprawl of chairs and shaded tables adjacent to a small white truck; all nesting on a bend in the road that runs up the mountain. If you peak through the trees, Taipei 101 and its surrounding cityscape are visible, albeit far away. Usually, there is a lot of mist and the far off landscape seems to blur like a blue tinted window in a soft rain. I once asked the owner/coffee master how long he had had this setup on the mountain for. I thought he might say just for the past couple of years. I don’t remember his exact number now, but it was well over 10. That means this cool, quaint coffee spot has been situated on the mountain for quite some time; brewing dark and robust beverages to help us mortals battle the steep, foggy ascent. It’s a long way to the top of this first peak, past temples and serene mountainside communities.

I’m basically a pro with my phone camera…

Let’s now jump straight into the coffee quality. From what I remember, his black coffee options trump the latte drinks by at least a yard, though that could be mostly attributed to my only real complaint: how the coffee is served. Your drink comes in an excessively plasticy, plastic cup. I get that most of his customers on the mountain road will be taking their drinks to go, whether or not they decide to take a moment and enjoy the view, but the feel of the cups somehow dampens my appreciation for his coffee. It’s like how drinking soda out of a plastic bottle versus a glass one can make all the difference to how refreshing it feels. Even so, Feng-Ti still offers a variety of coffee options, as well as a few snacks like waffles and bread. Coffee was the only thing my body yearned for on my visits up the mountain, but, as a snackologist, I never keep the coffee-pairing edible options too far outside my periphery. A sugary waffle to keep my hot coffee company? Sign me up! Just remember that the food comes out on disposable tableware, too.

Now the obvious move is to bring your own travel mug and utensils, be good to the earth, and make it a ‘mug of joe’ instead. That is my recommendation to you, dear reader. But I digress because, once again, the black bean juice that we all run on is still the key component here. Just keep in mind that I am sharing and introducing a “spot”:a way for time and space to meet and interact with the environment, ultimately elevating your moment with your cup (not plastic please) of coffee. These forces need to meet each other under benevolent conditions to truly color the pages of devotion, lest it simply be remembered as another coffee stain.

So if nature and the environment impassion you like they do me, definitely take a morning afternoon ride up Five Finger Mountain and slow down time with coffee and the atmosphere. Just be careful on your way up. The road is bendy and there are some stray dog packs, and even some wandering spirits… I think.
(PS- if you are gonna take the time to trek up the mountain road then you can also check out the other fascinating and magical sites that float above the city as you drive up. I won’t get too specific, though. As a matter of fact I will keep these locations lofty and abstract so that you can find them in your own way.)

楓堤咖啡

“其次”的點子(地點)不是我去到的第二個地方,也不是喜愛的次之,而是它可完全對照前些地方的特點。位於台北的五指山,坐著一套桌椅在樹蔭下,側面是一台白色的咖啡卡車;這些所有東西順著登山路的大灣。當你眺望遠處時,樹林的後面就是台北101和一片市景。這個遙遠的景色因為通常被山上的霧氣顯得模糊,所以像你在用天然的藍色濾鏡觀看飄飄的雨絲。我曾經問過師傅的咖啡車駐山多久了。我以為他會說什麼四、五年而已,咖啡阿北給我的數字實際我記不起來,不過肯定有超過十年,總之這個誘人的咖啡地點混在山上的時間還算長久;彀泡一壺又濃厚又黑森森的咖啡給爬山上來的山友脫冷擋霧。順便一提,到第一個小山頂的路途上會帶你經過閑靜的沿兒山路小村和富有能量的寺廟。別眨眼!

先移到下一個話題:咖啡品質。依我的回憶,那裡的白咖啡選擇比不上他做的黑咖啡之味道。但有可能讓我覺得唯一美中不足的是:供應方式。楓堤的每一杯飲料是裝在百分之一百二塑膠的塑膠杯裡面。因為這個咖啡車的位置分明就在要開車或者騎車才能到達的地方,不管客人會不會待一下看風景或怎麼樣,幾乎都會想為了方便買帶走的,我懂。但,塑膠杯拿著和喝起來的感覺一樣會挫傷我對他咖啡的賞識。就像喝可樂一樣,用塑膠瓶跟玻璃瓶肯定會牽動飲料的清涼程度。怎麼說來的,楓提的咖啡選項滿多的,而且連鬆餅或吐司之類的小吃都有。我自己就是剛好每次拜訪都只帶了咖啡的胃口,所以沒有嘗過這些點心。可是,即使我早就坐擁所謂“點心王”的寶座,好好配咖啡的小點從未逃離我的目光。難道甜的格子鬆餅配得上熱咖啡嗎?沒錯,非搭配不可的!但是別忘這些點心也會放在一次性的餐具上。

這樣子的話我非常推薦大家買自己的杯子或者在出發前從家裡拿一只馬克杯。不願意保護我們的地球的人有權利享受它的水土嗎?我不太認同。好了,跑題了。再說,這裡主要的還是我們咖啡消費者最珍惜的“黑豆露”,可是別忘這部落格的重點是在分享咖啡地點;隨著時空跟環境,結合成能互相加深你對喝一杯(拜託不要塑膠杯)咖啡的見識。 此類的條件需要在良善的情形下相聚才會足足興旺,好比於有一頁圖畫在上色時失去平衡感,就會被人記成平凡的咖啡污漬。

Re-finding this photo invokes Deja View

所以如果你和我一樣很容易對大自然的環境感到激昂慷慨,一定要抓個時間上去五指山,喝著咖啡來放慢時光,享受氣氛吧。開上去的路況有一點危險,記得慢慢開唷!那條路真的很彎,並且有不少的流浪狗,還或許會看見森林幽靈在遊走呢!
(附言~你如果真的想跋涉千里走山路的話,建議你探勘路上:一來有趣,二來神奇部分:更多其他漂浮在城市以上的地方。但我不會給太多意見。說實在,我把所說的地方保持驚喜讓大家自己去找一下也比較好玩吧!)

Lai lim ga bi!

以前在捷運走廊看到的廣告

Summer Savage

I’m really excited to get into the details of spot number 3: Summer Savage, right around the corner from Xingtian Temple! I lived behind the temple for about five months in 2019-20. The area is chock-full of vegetarian eateries and well-kept cafes, so wandering around, rummaging for food and drinks became a habit right away. 

Sometimes the little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop with no [comfortable] seating is charming. Other times it is an aesthetic pain in the ass; a palette of musty hues and the grainy filter of my anxiety. How S. S. manages to strike an eloquent balance between these extremes is beyond me; I might need to consult a Feng Shui master. I mean, from the construction being done on the short skyscraper next door, to the speedy vehicles whipping around the corner, you would not immediately associate this intersection with any feelings even close to tranquility. Alas, magic is worked and you step up to the counter, face to face with a dapper, young barista, wearing either black or white, who exudes expertise in the caffeinated alchemic arts. From there, the rest is a daze, full of bold aromas, whizzing cars, and a bit of exercised patience (if you are there during busy hours or order a pour-over coffee). And then, before you know it, a dainty, elegant porcelain cup (as I prefer to order ‘for here’ instead of the paper cup) is placed in front of you, almost too beautiful to disturb. But such is the beauty of mortality in a cup of really good coffee.

那個很難訂下來舒適感

I could go on for far too long about the physical properties of this establishment, all the while forgetting to highlight the all-important centerpiece. The coffees are fairly priced, with all the classic espresso drinks and filter options on offer. I vaguely remember that they have some interesting specialty drinks, however, 1) I am writing this while not currently in Taiwan so I cannot go there to jog my memory, and finding their menu online, while easy, would detract from the approach I’ve dedicated this blog to: my memories and impressions. And 2) even though I am a fan of all varieties of coffee drinks, I don’t think I ever strayed from the basic espresso and pour-over side of the menu. I never once was even the slightest bit disappointed by something I ordered from S. S. 

Quite often I would get asked by one of the baristas (there are somehow multiple, all crammed into a space best described as, “this could be a sizable closet”) if I would like to try a new bean that’s either just been put on the list or is about to be. He (it was usually the same young man) always managed to walk the line between enthusiasm and calm professionalism while describing to me the characteristics of the bean, wash, and roast, and would proceed to set it up, pour-over style, in a visible spot on the countertop. What better way to wait for your coffee than to watch it brew while you brim with delightful anticipation?

There are, of course, plenty of quality, busy-bee coffee shops in Taipei to visit and spend time in. I certainly have only seen a fraction of them, though my google maps ‘favorites’ markers would have you think I’m trying to solve a city-wide manhunt. I guess I am, if you replace ‘man’ with ‘black elixir of immortality’. You get me… I like coffee. So much that my descriptions can go overboard and drift into the fantastical. But how did S.S. become my (as it stands now) number 1 spot for coffee in the city? I’ve done my best to describe its electric atmosphere, the great staff, and the high quality coffee, as these are the pillars on which my admiration stands. What’s harder to put a pin on is just how all these factors intersect and culminate in an affection perfectly situated between thrilling and tranquil. I always left S.S. with a compulsion to chase that high no matter where I went, with coffee on my mind and in my system. Maybe, by the end of the blog, some of these nuanced feelings of fascination will have bubbled up and forced their way out past your screen and into your heart; tugging at the edge of your senses and curiosity so that we may follow our noses together, in search of more special places of aromatic excellence, coffees in hand. 

夏野豆行

藍色的片切寶石是我放的

第三個地方的細節,我其實很期待和大家一起進場。這個咖啡地點叫做“夏野都行”,位於行天宮附近的小巷口。在2019至20年之間我住了差不多5個月在行天宮後面的街道上。因為那裡的素食店和咖啡廳非常豐足,所以我很快地習慣去逛逛探險地並且找可以讓我吃喝飽足的新貴寶地。

沒有舒服座位來著、這樣“小而不起眼”的咖啡廳有的時候可以說很嫵媚或許可愛,但是有時候這個審美觀也是會讓人太焦急。店裡可能裝演得很好,甚至於看起來像是一個自帶漂亮又模糊的IG濾鏡,視覺則享受,只是不適合久坐。夏野豆行如何把這些極端的條件平衡那麼美好,我也真的不知道,可能要去問風水師傅我才能理解吧。意思是,鑑於這間咖啡店旁邊是一大棟不停整修的大樓,加上路上車水馬龍,你根本就不會為這個地方跟安寧感等量齊觀。瞬間!魔法奏效,它牽制了你走向櫃檯,一旁穿不白則黑制服的年輕的咖啡師和你對上了眼。而這個人的氣場透露出他對咖啡充足的專業性。接下來,快車的嗡嗡聲、空氣中的濃烈味、還有圍在店外忍耐等咖啡的人(特別是你要是在高峰時來或者點了手沖)都顯得發愣了。然後話都沒有說完就來了一個纖巧的瓷杯(我不想用浪費性的外帶杯)就被送到你手上了。瓷杯的美感是令人不好意思碰觸的,但這就是美麗美味的一杯咖啡的塵世本質。

我這麼愛講小咖啡店外觀是不是快忘記我們這篇的主角了呢?飲料的價格都說得過去,從經典濃縮泡法到所提的過濾式的選項都有。我對他們菜單上的其他特色飲料現在記得不是很清楚,可是話說回來由於我目前不在台灣,所以無法自己回去看,但也不想要上網查。再說我這個部落格的目的不是仔細介紹咖啡廳的所有東西,而是主張用自己的回憶跟印象來寫。我到底要分出幾條枝丫呢,先回到主題多說幾句。雖然我自己喜歡喝的咖啡飲料不太有什麼限制,以這間的選擇上平常不會離開經典濃縮與手沖區。但是我在“夏豆”無論點什麼都沒讓我失望過。

那邊的其中一個咖啡師(還是不懂他們怎麼把那麼多人擠在一個可說大小剛剛好是個衣櫃的空間裡)常常會問我要不要嘗試可能還沒放上菜單的新品咖啡豆。平常都是同一位年輕的男生跟我介紹新豆子的特色、洗法、及烘法,而且他在跟我說的時候,說法與方式具鎮靜的專業度但又不失激情。然後他就會起手把檯面上的一個位置給準備手沖咖啡的用具,然後開始慢慢地泡我的咖啡。一心瀰漫地等著,看著自己的咖啡滴穿不就是人生一大樂事?

其實在台北要找又高級又忙碌的咖啡店而花掉時間並不難。連我去過的店也數不到全市的一半,可是如果打開我的Google地圖看記號就會以為我在玩什麼都會的尋寶遊戲。我算是吧?只是所謂的“寶物”在我眼中是最珍貴的【黑墨仙丹】。哎呀!又講了一個他人聽不明白的話了。抱歉,我視咖啡為福報。剩下只要思考,夏野豆行到底是怎麼變成我(目前)最喜歡的咖啡地點呢?關於它的氛圍、優秀的店員、和高品質的咖啡,上述已一併解釋的特點,讓我傾心的咖啡廳都在我心上紮根。但是比較難釘選成焦點的是,這麼多元素混在一起卻導致一個同時具有刺激性、且沈靜的地方怎麼浮出水面了?天下有道,一切都存在於平衡之中。我雖然身不在此地,心無論如何都跟不上夏野豆行曾經留在回憶裡的過癮。也許當這個部落格寫完時,這個理由會出現在頁面的某一個地方。或者,若令你感覺心裡癢癢的,就快拿起一杯咖啡,追尋著濃郁香味,跟我一起發現新的地點,來探索咖啡界吧!

%d bloggers like this: