January 24, 2016

My 15 favorite cafes near Shida (and a bit of Taida) in Taipei

Click to enlarge! This map lists the cafes I mention in this post. You may as well just skip reading this post! Haha! ...Please don't. This map has multiple layers, to be used in future posts.

UPDATE (11/20/16): Cat.jpg Cafe has moved. I've updated the map above and the information about the cafe in the post below.

UPDATE (5/19/16): Cafe Kafka has closed! :(

"Be careful. Taipei is a petri dish for addiction...to cafes."

No one warned me about this before I moved to Taipei in August 2014 to learn Chinese, but even if someone did, I wouldn't have believed them. I spent the first 29 years of my life indifferent to coffee and the places that specialize in it, and, by God, I had to keep that streak going, for some reason. Taipei's cafes couldn't change that. Not with their cozy decor. And their cool art. And their hip music. And their freshly baked desserts. And their cute menus. And their Wi-Fi. And their air conditioning. And their cats.

LatteAdorable latte art Latte artPicnic
LATTE LATTE LATTE LATTE

Less than a month after living in Taipei, I developed a near latte-a-day habit. Things escalated quickly.

Here's a flowchart that illustrates the inner workings of my decision-making process:

"Should I Go To a Cafe?" flowchart
Click to enlarge!

For me, the catalyst of my cafe addiction was taking beginner intensive classes at the Mandarin Training Center. Memorizing traditional characters every day was pounding my brain into a frothy garbage mush of frustration and despair. When I couldn't focus, I'd fall asleep. I fell asleep a lot. I needed a place that would motivate me. Perhaps...a place with cake. And beverages enhanced with sugar and milk. And a closing time before which I have to get my shit done.

I could also blame my friends for encouraging my cafe-going habit, but that would be unfair. I'm not a sheep. I have volition. Or half a volition. I CAN STOP WHENEVER I WANT TO. Because if there's anything addicts are good at, it's stopping.

Many of my friends and classmates thought I was addicted to lattes. BUT NO sort of. The lattes enabled the cafe addiction. I've spent my whole life thinking black coffee tastes like poison sewer drainage. Then, during the developmental stage of my cafe addiction, I found if you temper the poison sewer drainage with a tub of steamed milk and a scoop of sugar, it transforms into something that tastes good to my infantile palate. (I still think black coffee tastes like poison sewer drainage.) And thus lattes became my default drink. There was a week where I dabbled in only ordering non-coffee drinks because I thought drinking coffee coupled with simmering in Taipei's oppressive summer humidity was making me smell extra pungent, but no other drink could match the goodness of a latte. If lattes were making me smelly, then too bad, innocent bystanders who enjoy breathing through their noses, because I'm gonna stink it up.

Taipei is flush with indie cafes, my neighborhood especially. During my ten-month stay in Taipei, I lived in Daan near two major universities, Shida (National Taiwan Normal University) and Taida (National Taiwan University). Where there are universities, there are thousands of students who need caffeine and places to study. I had a mission to try as many cafes as possible, but after a few months I got used to my regular cafes and stopped exploring. There are surely more awesome cafes near Shida and Taida that I never tried.

Although this post is about my favorite cafes, it doesn't have much to do with coffee quality. I don't know how to rate coffee. (It's brown. And it's hot. Or it's cold. It's a brown liquid with a temperature.) I just know how to rate environment, attitude, music, non-coffee food, and opening hours on a super subjective scale. Also, cats. Cats are a factor. I figure the coffee quality at these cafes is all good or better.

Some of the information I list for each cafe might be outdated, like prices or menu items, considering I haven't been to some of these cafes in almost a year. If you want to help update anything, please let me know in the comments!

But First: A Random List of Things Found at Most Indie Cafes

Every cafe has free Wi-Fi (except for the ones I mention that are on school property). The password is often the cafe's phone number. It's usually written on the menu or a sign somewhere.

It's pretty common to find cats in cafes. Keep that in mind if you're allergic.

Most of the cafes I mention, if not all of them, are cash-only.

There's always a section of free flyers, postcards, stickers, and the like. It's a good source of info about cultural activities, or for stocking up on political stickers.

Some cafes have a policy of keeping the conversation volume low. I avoid these cafes because I'm a loud American. :'(

Some cafes have outdoor seating, often utilized by smokers. Or people who like being attacked by mosquitoes. Because from my experience, until you're acclimated to Taiwanese mosquitoes, sitting outside will result in a very itchy you and very happy, bloated mosquitoes.

Most cafe menus are written in Chinese and English. The scope of menus can vary widely, but they at least all offer pretty much the same kind of coffee drinks: espresso, Americano, cappuccino, latte, the option of adding extra flavors, iced or hot, etc. In my descriptions I list what non-coffee drinks and other foods they serve.

My Favorite Cafes

Cafe Kuroshio (咖啡黑潮): The Chillaxed, Awesome Dessert Cafe

咖啡黑潮 Cafe Kuroshio
Cafe Kuroshio

According to Foursquare, I visited Cafe Kuroshio 53 times during my nine months in Taiwan, about 1.3 times every week. Excessive? Nah. ...Maybe. But I have my reasons.

1) They have a rotating menu of awesome homemade desserts.
2) They stay open until midnight (except Mondays, when they're closed).
3) They're located just a few blocks away from my apartment.
4) I like the music they play. (Usually. I mostly remember post-rock, Thom Yorke, and Alex Turner.)
5) The staff is friendly.
6) My friends like it a lot, too. I WAS UNDER PEER PRESSURE. (Or was I the one pressuring them? I don't know.)

The location and opening hours reeled me in, but it was the desserts that kept me going back. Every weekend Kuroshio unveils four new homemade desserts, mostly pies, tarts, cheesecakes, and—my favorite—crumb cakes. After I found this out, every weekend became a potential "Treat Myself At Kuroshio Weekend." If you go right when they open, you'll get first pick. And if you go with a few friends, you can pick ALL OF THE DESSERTS. (Or you can eat all the desserts by yourself. There's no shame in that, maybe.)

Another big plus: their dessert chef, Jing, is a fan of Serious Eats, where I had worked for seven years. He's awesome! Not just because he likes Serious eats, but that gives him roughly a jillion extra cool points.

咖啡黑潮 Cafe Kuroshio
IT'S MOTHERFRUGGIN CARROT CAKE TIME!
咖啡黑潮 Cafe Kuroshio
AND NOW IT'S LEMON CHESS PIE TIME!
Dessert time at Cafe Kuroshio
AND NOW IT'S CRUMB CAKE TIME!
Cake time at Kuroshio
AND NOW IT'S "HANGING OUT WITH YING-LE WHILE EATING CAKE" TIME!
咖啡黑潮 Cafe Kuroshio
The squishy seat area.
咖啡黑潮 Cafe Kuroshio
The normal tables-and-chairs area.

Regular latte: NT$125
Cats: Nope.
Food: Only desserts and drinks, no savories. More dessert choices on the weekends, but if you get there late in the day they'll mostly be sold out. Also serve alcohol.
Pros: Awesome desserts and reasonably priced drinks. Good music (well, depending on what kind of music you like). Friendly staff. OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT!!!
Cons: Closed on Mondays. Not the most well-lit for studying at night. Easily gets full on the weekends. Doesn't ooze cuteness/whimsy. Doesn't have a ton of electrical outlets for laptops and such.
Website: facebook.com/cafe.kuroshio
Address: No. 9-1, Lane 141, Section 1, Heping E Rd, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours: Tue to Sun: 1:00 pm - 12:00 am

Picnic (野餐咖啡): The Cozy, Taiwanese Hipster-Cute Cafe

Picnic Cafe
Picnic!

What is Taiwanese hipster-cute? ...I'm lazy, so I'll just say that to me, it looks like Picnic. Retro lamps and hanging lightbulbs, random colorful knick knacks scattered around, walls decorated with indie music and movie posters, a handwritten menu with playful doodles. In some cases this kind of decor could smack of "trying too hard," but at Picnic it feels just right. The setting is welcoming and cozy. As far as atmosphere goes, Picnic is my favorite cafe.

Quiche and latte
Quiche and mocha latte.
Picnic Cafe menu
Menu, why are you so cute?
Picnic Cafe
Main seating area.
Picnic Cafe
Looking towards the entrance.
Picnic Cafe
Back room seating area.
Picnic Cafe
Duckies.

Regular latte: NT$130
Cats: Nope.
Food: Quiches, soups, scones, ice cream, some other light desserts.
Pros: Larger than average drink selection. Cheaper prices than most places but quality as good if not better. Adequate lighting for studying. Good music. Variety of seating.
Cons: I wish it were open until midnight instead of 11:30 p.m. What could I do with that extra half an hour? ...I'd probably procrastinate, BUT STILL.
Website: facebook.com/picnicafe
Address: No. 75, Wenzhou St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours:
Mon to Fri: 1:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Sat to Sun: 12:00 pm - 11:30 pm

Pica Pica (喜鵲咖啡): The Less Cozy, Taiwanese Hipster-Cute Cafe

Pica Pica 喜鵲咖啡館
Pica Pica

Pica Pica, being run by the same people behind Picnic, is another cute and cozy cafe that makes my heart ache for Taipei. However, Pica Pica's space lacks the nooks and crannies that makes Picnic feel cozier. Also, Pica Pica closes earlier than Picnic, 10:45 p.m. compared to 11:30 pm. I might choose Pica Pica for an afternoon of studying or hanging out, but not after dinner, which is when I did most of my studying.

Cold roasted rice milk tea
Mug mug.
喜鵲咖啡 Pica Pica Café
Cinnamon bun (one bun split in two) + latte.
Pica Pica 喜鵲咖啡館 menu
Menu.
Pica Pica 喜鵲咖啡館
Interior.
Cute lamp
Cute old lamp.
Something I didn't know before I got to Taipei is that you often have to put your toilet paper in a trash can, not the toilet. I love this sign's anthropomorphic toilet doodle. In my mind it's moaning a strained, drawn-out "Nooooooooooooooo..." #taipei #t
The sign in the bathroom is cute, too.

Regular latte: NT$120
Cats: Nope.
Food: Besides cakes and pastries, also sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Pros: Cheaper drinks than other places. Lots of non-coffee drinks on the menu. Good music. Cinnamon buns!
Cons: It closes too early...for me. Probably not for normal people who go to bed at reasonable hours.
Website: facebook.com/picapicafe
Address: No. 74, Lane 269, Section 3, Roosevelt Rd, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours: Mon to Sun: 1:00 pm - 10:45 pm

Ecole Cafe (學校咖啡館): The More Refined Hipster-Cute Cafe, With Brunch Goodness

Ecole Cafe
Ecole Cafe

Ecole Cafe is part of a mini cafe and furniture shop empire started by Mooi, a shop that specializes in selling vintage European furniture and household goods. And when furniture is your specialty, your cafes look well designed and cute and stuff.

Ecole Cafe opens at 9 a.m. every day except Sunday (when it opens at 11 a.m), much earlier than my other favorite cafes. If for some crazy reason I wanted to go to a cafe before school, this would be my top choice. It's a nice spot to pop in for a late breakfast or brunch if you want something more special than the cheap corner breakfast shop (of which there are loads). I'm fond of their brunch plate: soft scrambled eggs topped with a strip of bacon, a warm, homemade roll with butter and some spreadable fruit mash, and a light salad. The cakes are good, too.

Brunch plate and latte at 學校咖啡 Ecole Cafe
Brunch plate.
Ecole Cafe latte
A pretty latte.
Iced condensed milk latte
Iced condensed milk latte.
Lemon cake at 學校咖啡 Ecole Cafe
Lemon cake.
Orange-tuna egg sandwich
Orange-tuna-egg sandwich with yogurt.
Ecole Cafe menu
Menu.
Ecole Cafe
Cute things for sale.
Ecole Cafe notebooks
Stationery for sale.
Ecole Cafe
Bookshelf and seating.
Ecole Cafe
Sunroom.
Doodle times
The extent of my Chinese knowledge after a few weeks of class.

Regular latte: NT$150
Cats: Nope.
Food: Brunch plates, sandwiches, and a few other heftier dishes, as well as lots of cakes. A bunch of tea and juice choices besides coffee drinks.
Pros: Open earlier than most places. Cozy sunroom in the back, although potentially too hot when it's too sunny.
Cons: Closes too early for late night studying, tends to be packed on the weekends. I remember almost nothing about the music, which I guess means it's inoffensive but not awesome.
Website: facebook.com/ecolecafe.cafetrouve
Address: No. 6, Lane 1, Qingtian St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours:
Mon to Thurs: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Fri to Sat: 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sun: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm

Rebirth Cafe: The College Town Dive Bar Cafe

Rebirth Cafe & Restaurant
Rebirth Cafe.

I haven't visited Rebirth Cafe that often, but when I did it left an impression unmatched by other cafes. Examples:

1. I was alone the first time I visited this cafe. A young man greeted me at the door with a smile and welcomed me in English after I showed a zero percent command of the Chinese language (hey, it was still my first quarter of school).

2. While doing my homework, one of the waitresses struck up a conversation with me and told me to let her know if I needed help with my homework. Eventually I gave in to her generous offer. She saved me from brain hemorrhaging brought on by writing a simple composition in Chinese.

3. One time after eyeing a tray of freshly baked bread rolls cooling on a nearby table, my friends and I asked the owner what kind of bread they were baking. He responded by giving us a free roll. (I think this happened twice.)

Rebirth is the most laid back, friendly cafe I've ever been to. It's also the grungiest cafe I'd been to, which might be good or bad depending on what you're into. They have loads of bookshelves full of stuff I couldn't read. Probably cool stuff. I'd return here to hang out with friends, not necessarily to study.

Rebirth Cafe & Restaurant menu
Especially cute menu.
Rebirth Cafe Rebirth Cafe & Restaurant
Interior.
Fried potato wedges
Potato wedges, mmmm.
Eric, BUN MONSTER
Eric tearing into the aforementioned free roll.
I HAVE KITTIES
Me and an army of Pusheen's long lost cousins.
Contemplative kitty
Contemplative kitty.

Regular latte: NT$130
Cats: Yes!!! As well as fake cats—there are also some huge Pusheen knock-off plushies in the back.
Food: Lots! Rice plates, burgers, and more. But the kitchen is small so you might have to wait a long time for your food.
Pros: Super chill and friendly, open late, lots of food choices (potato wedges!), KITTIES.
Cons: Not the best lighting for studying, not the most comfortable atmosphere, theoretically open until 2 am but I'm under the impression that they close early if they feel like it.
Website: facebook.com/Rebirth.cafe
Address: No. 2, Lane 48, Wenzhou St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours:
Mon to Fri: 2:00 pm - 2:00 am
Sat to Sun: 12:00 pm - 2:00 am

(CLOSED) Cafe Kafka / The Crow (烏鴉咖啡店): My Favorite Cafe Off Yongkang Street

UPDATE (5/19/16): This cafe has closed! :( I'll leave my original info up for posterity's sake.

烏鴉咖啡 Cafe Kafka
Cafe Kafka

I haven't been to a lot of cafes around Yongkang Street, but I really liked Cafe Kafka so I didn't bother to search for more. It's another cozy, chill spot with cute decor and mismatched furniture. AND CAAAATS (or at least one cat).

As you can see, I'm running out of meaningful things to say about cafes.

烏鴉咖啡 Cafe Kafka
Seats and stuff.
Mocha at 烏鴉咖啡 Cafe Kafka
Mocha latte.
Mocha latte doodle
Mocha latte plus a doodle that was surely a product of procrastination.
Jorge and Eric being Jorge and Eric
Jorge eating noodles off a potato chip as Eric watches and judges him.
Book tree at 烏鴉咖啡 Cafe Kafka
Christmas book tree!

Regular latte: NT$150
Cats: Yes! At least one.
Food: Some noodle dishes and some desserts. The ice cream-topped waffles looked good, but I never tried them. Also serve alcohol.
Pros: Cats! Chill atmosphere.
Cons: Not a lot of seats. Not the cheapest option.
Notes: Cafe Kafka is the smaller offshoot of the larger cafe/music venue Kafka by the Sea down by Gongguan.
Website: facebook.com/cafekafka2014
Address: No. 16, Lane 37, Yongkang St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours: Mon to Sun: 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Honorable Mentions

CAT.jpg Cafe (貓圖咖啡): The Tiny Take-Out Cafe with CATS CATS CATS

UPDATE (11/20/16): This cafe has moved to a new, larger location! Here are some photos my friend took of the new space:

Photos of the new Cat.jpg Cafe
Photographs: Charlotte Toolan

And here's the new address:

台北市大安區龍泉街5巷16-1號
No. 16, Lane 5, Longquan St, Da'an District, Taipei, Taiwan (map)

I'll leave the old info below for posterity's sake. END UPDATE

Little cat cafe
CAT.jpg Cafe

This is the cafe I'd recommend if you want a drink to-go near the MTC and you want to look at cats. I prefer to nurse my latte over a few hours of studying, so I mostly went here with my friend Charlotte when she craved the latte + kitty combination. But since it's more of a take-out spot, the prices are much lower than at a sit-down cafe.

貓圖咖啡 CAT.jpg cafe
KITTIES!
貓圖咖啡 CAT.jpg cafe
TOUCH THE KITTY!
Hot milk with brown sugar
Every cup comes with a cute cat sticker.
Menu at 貓圖咖啡 CAT.jpg cafe
Menu.

Regular latte: NT$65
Cats: YAAAAAASSSS
Food: Some sandwiches and toasts, but I never got around to trying them. Also sell teas and smoothies.
Pros: Low prices. CATS. Also they have a hot milk and black sugar drink that's awesome.
Cons: Tiny space with just a few seats, not a place to linger.
Website: facebook.com/cat.jpg.cafe
Address: No. 184-1, Section 1, Heping E Rd, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10645 (map) MOVED, PLEASE REFER TO ADDRESS ABOVE
Opening hours:
Mon to Fri: 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sun: 8:00 am - 7:30 pm

Sugar Man Cafe: The Night-Owls' and Smokers' Cafe

Sugar Man Cafe
Sugar Man Cafe

The only reason I can't rate this place more highly is because it smells too much like cigarette smoke inside, judging from the two times I went there. Smoking isn't allowed inside cafes in Taipei, but air from the outdoor smoking area taints the inner non-smoking sanctum too easily. If you can ignore that, it's a nice spot to hang out or study. I like the spaciousness of the high ceiling plus the cozy cushioned booths lit by Banker's lamps. There are also regular tables at at least one couch tucked away in a back nook. Biggest plus: it's open until 4 a.m. 4 a.m.!

Viennese at Sugar Man Cafe
Viennese coffee.
Sugar Man Cafe
Ice cream and espresso.
Hi Charlotte! At Sugar Man Cafe
HI CHARLOTTE!
Sugar Man Cafe
Interior.

Regular latte: NT$120
Cats: No.
Food: Dumplings, sandwiches, toast, bagels, ice cream.
Pros: Spacious. OPEN FOREVER I mean until 4 a.m.
Cons: Smells like cigarettes.
Website: facebook.com/cafesugarman
Address: No. 87-1, Section 1, Heping E Rd, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours: Mon to Sun: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m.

Camo Cafe (卡摩咖啡): The "Run Here During Your Class Break" Cafe

Camo Cafe
Camo Cafe

This recommendation is pretty much just directed towards MTC/Shida students. Camo Cafe stands right outside the entrance to the MTC building. If it weren't so close to my school I wouldn't go there, but it is, and thank god. It's quite cheap, the food is decent, and the service is friendly. I've grabbed breakfast here a few times as well as quick sandwich lunches during ten-minute breaks between class periods. Many zombie-like mornings involved stopping by Camo to pick up a caramel latte on the way to class in hopes it would wake me up. It didn't. But it helped me sustain the illusion that Magic Caffeinated Drinky was all I needed to be lucid after sleeping for five hours.

Camo Cafe
Egg and stuff sandwich, plus milk tea.

Regular latte: I'm not positive, but I'd guess NT$60
Cats: No.
Food: Sandwiches, rice dishes, pasta, and more.
Pros: The most convenient food and drink source at the MTC. Fast and cheap. Outdoor picnic table seating is nice if the weather doesn't suck.
Cons: You're here for convenience, not high quality coffee. Closes early (school hours). All seating is outdoors, exposing you to the elements/MOSQUITOS.
Website: N/A
Address: No. 36, Lishui St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours: (Not positive about the opening hours)
Mon - Sat: 7:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Wen-Hui Hall (文薈廳): The Shida Study Hall Cafe

師大文薈廳 (Wen Hui Hall)
Wen-Hui Hall interior.

This is another recommendation that's directed towards MTC/Shida students. Wen-Hui Hall is a large, casual study hall that also serves drinks and snacks. You don't have to order anything to study in there. So if you want a cafe-ish setting to study in without having to pay anything, it's a good choice.

師大文薈廳 (Wen Hui Hall)
Study time with waffle.
師大文薈廳 (Wen Hui Hall)
Cookies and other snacks.
師大文薈廳 (Wen Hui Hall)
Menu.

Regular latte: NT$60
Cats: No.
Food: Cookies, waffles, brownies, other little sweet snacks.
Pros: Convenient if you're on campus. Cheap. Has a water fountain for refilling bottles.
Cons: Closes early and only open on weekdays. Often very crowded during the afternoon.
Website: facebook.com/WenHueiHall
Address: No. 162, 和平東路1段, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan (map)
Opening hours: Mon to Fri: 8:00 a.m - 8:00 p.m.

Whatever Comes After "Honorable Mention"

Elsewhere Cafe (生活在他方): The Art Book Cafe

生活在他方 Elsewhere Cafe
Elsewhere Cafe.

I only got to visit this cafe once, so I don't have a whole lot to say about it. But the one visit was lovely. They sell a bunch of awesome art and design-related books and zines.

生活在他方 Elsewhere Cafe
Desserts and latte.
生活在他方 Elsewhere Cafe 生活在他方 Elsewhere Cafe 生活在他方 Elsewhere Cafe
Books, cards, and other cute stuff for sale.
生活在他方 Elsewhere Cafe 生活在他方 Elsewhere Cafe
Cute chalkboard and cute seating.

Regular latte: ?
Cats: No.
Food: Cakes and tarts.
Website: elsewherecafe.com
Address: No. 3, Lane 119, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100 (map)
Opening hours: Tue to Sun: 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Nom Nom Cafe: ...Another Cute Cafe

Nom Nom
Nom Nom Cafe.

Nom Nom is just a block behind MTC campus, but I only went there twice. It's another cute cafe with cool furniture, and it gets loads of natural light.

Nom Nom menu
Brunch menu.
Lattes
Cold sesame latte and regular latte.
White chocolate "strewpberry" tea latte
White chocolate strawberry tea latte. Ordered once. Once was enough. Yeaaah.
Ice cream with espresso
Ice cream with espresso. Damn, I should've ordered this instead.
Nom Nom Tried another cute cafe today. Even the name is adorable: nom nom. #taipei #taiwan #cafeAnother view of the cute cafe, nom nom. #taipei #taiwan #cafe
Interior.

Regular latte: NT$140
Cats: No.
Food: Teas, lassis, milkshakes. Lots of bunch dishes, but I never got around to trying any.
Website: facebook.com/nomnombistro
Address: No. 137, Chaozhou St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours:
Mon to Fri: 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sat to Sun: 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

這宅咖啡 (This House Coffeeshop): The Quiet Cafe

They have a tatami-style seating area in the back where you take off your shoes and sit on cushions on the floor. Cozy! But they also have a "please be quiet" policy. So I've only been once.

Latte at 這宅咖啡 (This Place Coffee Shop)
Pretty latte art!
Carrot cake at 這宅咖啡 (This Place Coffee Shop)
Motoyo, Hsupeng, and carrot cake.
這宅咖啡 (This Place Coffee Shop)
View from the back.

Regular latte: NT$140
Cats: I didn't think so...until I saw a photo of a cat on their FB page.
Food: Hot chocolate, teas, some desserts.
Website: facebook.com/espressodwelling
Address: No. 12, Lane 37, Yongkang St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours:
Thurs to Tues: 1:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Xiaomijo (小米酒咖啡館): The Quiet Cafe with Adorable Latte Art

Xiaomijo Cafe
Xiaomijo.

You'd think the cute latte art would pull me in, but I only ever went to this cafe once because they too have a "please keep your voices low" rule. It's a totally reasonable rule...that I am bad at following. I felt so paranoid about being too loud while talking to Charlotte that I didn't feel compelled to return. But if you like cute latte art and speaking in hushed voices, this is the place for you.

Adorable latte art
THERE'S A BUNNY IN MY CUPPY.
Pavlova with strawberries and vanilla ice cream
Thumbs up for pavlova with strawberries and ice cream.

Regular latte: NT$130
Cats: No.
Food: Tea, sandwiches, bagels, quiche, ice cream, cakes, pavlova.
Pros: ADORABLE LATTE ART!!!@#!@!!!
Cons: You have to be quiet here. Bad for hanging out if you're horribly loud American (points to self).
Website: facebook.com/cafexiaomijo
Address: No. 5, Lane 41, Yongkang St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours:
Tue to Fri: 1:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Sun: 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Trediumshim (找點心; formerly Cafe Trouve)

This cafe got a facelift and name change since my last visit, making my info outdated. But I thiiiink it's run by the same people behind Ecole Cafe, meaning it's probably good. It's uniquely located in a beautiful renovated Japanese occupation-era home. And assuming the cat didn't disappear with the facelift, they have a cat.

Cafe Trouve lives on in another location by Taida that I have yet to try.

找到咖啡 Cafe Trouve
Latte with palm sugar syrup.
Cafe cat at 找到咖啡 Cafe Trouve
Cat who mostly ignored me.
找到咖啡 Cafe Trouve
What the outside of the cafe used to look like.
Furniture shop
The cafe used to share the space with a retro European furniture shop, but my dad told me the cafe now takes up all the space.

Website: facebook.com/trediumshim
Address: No. 4, Lane 16, Taishun St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)

NOPE NOPE NOPE

Le Chat (路上撿到一隻貓): The Hostile Cafe

路上撿到一隻貓 Le Chat
Le Chat.

Update (3/19/16): Stephanie Hsu of The Thousandth Girl (a blog you should check out if you want to read more tips about Taipei!) left this comment on my Facebook page that you too should read:

I totally get the eye-rolly vibes towards 路上撿到一隻貓 BUT I have to say - I've been going there for nearly 3 years. In 2014, I left Taipei for the year to study in Stockholm. When I came back, I went to 路上撿到一隻貓. The grumpy hipster dudes mean mugged me hard when I walked in, as usual - but then when I go up to the counter to order, they caved: "Where have you been all this time?! We haven't seen you in so long!" I nearly cried.

I'm happy to hear that the people who work at Le Chat are also normal humans with hearts that feel things, as opposed to being 100 percent made of hostile indifference. :D

And now read on to see why I gave Le Chat the designation of "NOPE NOPE NOPE." END UPDATE

Cafes usually let you sit wherever you want. When I visited this cafe with Charlotte and Eric, not only were we instructed to sit at the bar, we were instructed which seats to specifically sit at. The bar was not full. All right then. If you like your service apathetic glazed with hostility, this place is for you. Luckily we didn't really deal with much of the service because the guys running the cafe spent most of their time sitting outside.

I ordered an iced latte with peanut butter. You could say, "Wow, Robyn, that's a dumbshit drink." I would agree. But the menu lets you customize your drink, and so I did. IMA TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED BY. YOLO. The road ended with a chunky peanut butter-clogged straw and an innocent drink that didn't want to exist, but it couldn't escape because it couldn't squeeze through the aforementioned clogged straw.

I take responsibility for ordering a stupid drink, but when someone orders an iced latte with peanut butter, you should respond with something like, "Oh...no, that's really dumb, you should order something else. For instance, anything else."

Besides that, the music was good (but too loud), there were a few adorable cats, and the decor is pretty cool in the "there's a bunch of old stuff lying around, like I'm on a treasure hunt in someone's basement. Also, it smells like a basement" way.

...I doubt the cafe is actually that bad. I probably just had a bad first impression. But if you had a similar experience, I'd love to hear about it and reinforce my discontent.

More kitty
Stretching kitty.
More kitty
I think it found its happy spot.
Another kitty
Other kitty!
路上撿到一隻貓 Le Chat menu
Menu.
路上撿到一隻貓 Le Chat 路上撿到一隻貓 Le Chat 路上撿到一隻貓 Le Chat
Interior.
Iced peanut butter latte
My dumbshit drink.

Regular latte: NT$110
Cats: Yes, multiple. The cafe lives up to its name.
Food: Teas, sodas, ice cream.
Pros: Cats. They'll make whatever drink you customize from their menu whether or not it's a good idea.
Cons: Weird service, too-loud music.
Website: facebook.com/lechat路上撿到一隻貓-130595764697
Address: No. 2, Lane 49, Wenzhou St, Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map)
Opening hours: Mon to Sun: 1:30 p.m. - 1:30 a.m.

Posted by roboppy at 5:15 PM

Tags: cafes, coffee, daan, favorite taipei things, lists, shida, taida, taipei, taiwan

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