Taiwan as a small island surprises all the time. Everyone is telling about amazing food – I agree! However I want to talk about coffee because I found out taiwanese coffee scene very well developed.
Why am I writing about coffee? I used to own a cafe in Europe for several years so you can guess that I’m passionate coffee lover. Together with my partner we will take you for a short journey around cafes in Keelung City which are popping up one after another one in the last few years – lucky customers. Follow us.
Few short words what was important to us while choosing cafes. First of all, if the cafe is working along Specialty Coffee Association rules. No worries, it’s not a lecture. In short: barista should know: what coffee is he brewing for you (believe, in many cafes they don’t know) ;origin of beans, how the beans were processed on the farm, roasting profile, flavour profile and of course barista must have essential brewing skills and keep coffee machine clean as it affects the taste. All these information are important to me because it tells me their approach to coffee.
We always look at customer service level, nobody likes to sit in a cafe where all baristas are impolite, gloomy or frustrated, right? We won’t send you to those places. Interior design – not the most important but we like to hang out in a cozy cafes where is clean and bright. We will tell you which cafe is suited for digital nomad; more and more travelers combine travelling and working as a freelancers so it’s handy to know good spots for doing your work. Let’s start.
1. Homerun Roaster
We were coming back to Homerun Roaster because they care about customers and serve one of the best coffees in Keelung. If you are missing flat white while traveling in Asia, they will serve you the one with well prepared milk what is not easy to find in Taiwan as they care more of hand brew filter coffee. In Homerun you can choose which beans they should prepare for your black coffee and there are beans to buy for home or your friends. They roast coffee beans in a cafe in the basement.
Cafe is spacious, has two floors but we kept staying in the main chamber because is very bright what we love it. You can have a chat in english with some of the crew. If you need to work on your computer, this place is great, has quite many tables and enough sockets to plug in your laptop, and is bright so it should keep your humor up. They are open till late.
2. Second Base
It’s located on Rensan Road. It’s not marked on google maps yet, but it’s easy to find when you walk along the street. Worth to go for a hunt.
Second Base is a little brother of Homerun Roasters, the same owner, coffee is roasted in homerun for both coffee shops, the same super yummy cakes. Coffee wise, it’s good as the main coffee shop. The building is worth visiting, narrow staircase, rooms of two different floors for customers and nice, modern, minimalist interior design. Great cafe for staying longer and work on a computer or reading a book. They open from 12.00 so don’t rush.
3. Anygood Cafe
Is located on the Renai Market among many small food stalls what we personally loved. Sitting by the tiny table, drinking coffee and watching all these people who came over there just because of food is just mesmerizing. The crew is very friendly and helpful. You can have a little chat in english which is always fun. They brew coffee on a good level. There is a variety of beans to choose for filter coffee. You can buy beans roasted by them for home. We adore this small concept of tiny cafe on the busy food market. We didn’t see any foreigners there. They don’t have cakes but sell a pudding. If you feel for something sweet their neighbors sell yummy cinnamon rolls, moist with good icing. It’s a place where you feel that you want to come back, it means it’s a good cafe, right?
4. Hermes coffee shop
It’s a super tiny shop but with great coffee on the table. It’s a hidden gem among cafes in Keelung. The owner focuses on roasting his coffee beans and selling to other cafes but on site serving coffee to his few customers visiting the coffee shop. I had here the best black filter coffee in Keelung. While sitting at the table you can observe as the owner is deselecting defected beans from the batch which he has just roasted – it’s one of the reasons why his coffee is so good. He uses very small roaster which can contain only 2kg of beans, so it makes the roasting process more efficient and even but it’s much more work for the owner. I bought his beans, do it the same, it’s worth. Cafe itself looks a bit more like his workshop. There is a space for around 10 people at the same time. Still you can connect to Wifi.
5. Coffee roasting studio
It’s quite new cafe in Keelung. The owner is very young and roasting beans for the cafe on a site in very tiny brand new roasting machine. It’s possible to roast only 900g of beans at a time – super tiny. Good space for your digital nomad work. Bright, nice big table with power sockets around. You won’t be disappointed because of coffee. If you get hungry you can order something from food menu but it’s only in chinese. No worries, they speak english so you will be able to communicate. We didn’t try but spotted some good looking cakes. Visit Roasting studio and show them gratitude for great customer service.
Text and photos: Daniel Mikulinski
Worked on a project: Iga kopiec with Daniel Mikulinski