Yours Coffee (63-2, LioYang East St.; 04-2242-6838; 9 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Sun.) is a small but popular Beitun district shop selling a wide range of beans, which owner Mr. Hu roasts himself. This ranges from the NT$3,000/pound Jamaican Blue Mountain to the NT$600/pound Yiriggichiefe or Kilimanjaro AA. There are also plenty of coffee-bean grinders, imported coffee siphons, filters and other equipment.

Zino (63, JingMing 2nd St., 04-2310-8530, www.zino.com.tw; 12-11 pm) exudes a delicious mix of coffee and cigar aromas. Owner Zino Tang and his little lounge-like cafe offer good Italian coffees (average NT$150/cup) made with Illy-brand beans and some high-end machines, which Zino tests daily to guarantee consistent quality. Italian beans from Lavazza and Caffe Vergnana are also sold, as are imported coffee machines. Zino also sells some very unique coffee-alcohol cocktails, like the Chocolatini and Bianco.













Getting your caffeine high in taichung

By Douglas Habecker Translated by Blankie Hsu


These days, there is literally a cafe or two on every city block These days, there is literally a cafe or two on every city block in Taichung. However, for those who are very serious about their coffee, the list of establishments is much smaller. Ask any connoisseur in the city and they are likely to mention some or all of the following cafes and shops as gathering places for the faithful. While the atmosphere varies significantly, these places are all run by people who are fastidious about making great coffee.

Aroma Coffee & Tea (54, TaichungGang Rd., sec. 2; 04-2316-8830, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.) has been in business for many years, moving from ZhongZheng Road to its current location two years ago. This cafe resembles a posh Victorian English parlor, with red wood decor, red carpeting, red velvet chairs, high ceilings and a long bar manned by formally-attired waiters. The upstairs area is particularly cozy and popular. A wide range of coffees, from the NT$200 Mandeling to the NT$320 Golden Coffee, are served on fine china. There is a NT$200/person minimum bill.

Chung Fei Coffee (46, SiWei St., 04-2226-4361; 146, SiChuan Rd., 04-2314-2032; 8 am-11 pm) is run by Mr. Liao Ren-tsun, who has 26 years in the coffee business and opened his first cafe 12 years ago, making him one of the best-known connoisseurs in the city. Mr. Liao draws repeat customers from all over with his Japanese-style coffees. He takes great pride in the consistent flavors--from the first hot sip to the cool last drop--that result from his special handmade coffee-making techniques. The same extraodinarily smooth flavors can be found in his exceptional iced coffees as well. The smaller original cafe is on a quiet road just off of SanMin Road, while the SiChuan branch is closer to La Cite and TaichungGang Road.

Edia (90, Lane 155, GongYi Rd.; 04-2302-5168; 1 pm-1am) is a cozy cafe with a modern, open feel, big glass windows that look out onto the YingCai (YingTsai) Road parkway, and a corner rack with about 1,000 CDs (including good jazz) to choose from. Manager "Ah-Hung" Chen has been well-regarded for his Italian-style coffees for many years and doesn't mind educating drinkers about beans and his coffees, from the NT$80 espresso to the NT$150 Americano with Kahlua.

8C Cafe (65, WuQuan 7th St.; 04-2376-5296; 10 am-2 am) is housed in a spacious, two-floor house just off of the WuQuan Parkway. Coffees (NT$280-500) are available from a full range of beans, such as Jamaica, Kona, Kenya AA, and Yemen Mocha. Unique touches include a Belgian 19th-century-style glass coffee siphons which are brought to tables for larger orders. Iced coffees are also fully prepared without heat, using a special siphon that melts ice through coffee grounds for a less-bitter taste.

Le Chateau (41, ZhongCheng St.; 04-2326-4091; 8 a.m.-11 p.m.) is a more recent addition that already has a big following, thanks to friendly owner Mr. Liu Dau-ming, his great coffees and top-end beans, which he roasts on the premises. Per-pound bean prices range from the NT$320 Mandeling G1 to the NT$1,600 Kona or NT$2,200 Wallenford Blue Mt. Cups start from NT$80 espressos. The owner stresses the "personality" of each unique coffee and enjoys assisting customers in recognizing and making great coffees. The pleasant, bright cafe, just off of MeiCun (MeiTsun) Road, has indoor and outdoor seating.

Old Tree Cafe (35, PingDeng St., 04-2225-9191, 10 am-10 pm; 8, GongYi Rd., sec. 2, 04-2310-5050, 10-2 am) is by far Taichung's oldest cafe. It's PingDeng branch, located in an old downtown neighborhood at the corner with MinDzu Road, opened in 1980 as a coffee-house pioneer. Today, it remains virtually unchanged with the faded charm of an old English pub, including heavy dark wood decor, well-used leather chairs, worn carpets and a long coffee bar. The GongYi branch is newer but aims for the same atmosphere. A variety of handmade hot and iced coffees range up to the popular Old Tree Special Coffee (NT$200).

Orsir Cafe
(2-20, WuQuan Rd.; 04-2375-0214; www.orsir.com.tw; 10:30 am-10 pm) has long been a prime gathering place for hardcore coffee connoisseurs. The busy shop is cluttered from top to bottom with all sorts of beans, coffee-making paraphernalia, and a long bar and corner tables where one can choose from 50 to 60 types of coffee (NT$50-180). There are more tables upstairs, where classes are often held. Uniquely, Orsir will also roast beans--even fairly small orders--to customers' requirements.

Who Together (Hutong) (3, Lane 16, JingCheng 9th St.; 04-2319-8378; 11 am-11 pm) is an exceptionally charming back-lane cafe located in the Little Europe area. Run by friendly owner "Ah-Pi" Huang, the cafe is in a cozy, two-floor house and features an artistic-feeling, East-meets-West decor that includes tatami seating areas, soft lighting and a resident cat. Ah-Pi is known for long-term experience in making great Italian-style, paper-drip-style coffees (NT$100-180) and works hard to preserve the original flavors of his high-end beans.