This is not Starbucks

From 15 feet away and more this looked like Starbucks, but no, it wasn’t. Not even close. I travel with my own coffee, and Senor Muggy, but when needed I’ve found that Starbucks works. Zeldman told me that once. He said Starbucks was a trusted, known source, of mediocre coffee – consistently mediocre. I was like whatever, but that’s totally true in Taiwan. While the Taiwanese do buffets right, corporate coffee is bad just like everywhere else.


In Taipei, they also have a thing for outlets with funny names.


A comment and revised sentence above clarifying that Taipei’s corporate-chain coffee was bad, just like anywhere else (v. Starbucks that’s mediocre everywhere).

We did have good coffee in a stand during our ride.


Dude, you didn’t try the right coffee places.

First off, E-Coffee is a cheap rip off of Starbuck’s.

Second, Starbuck’s does bad coffee as well, even though the caffeine kick is necessary for guys like me.

Third, you missed out on all the great boutique coffee shops that are around every corner in Taipei, with less expensive coffee that tastes better than Starbuck’s… not to mention free wireless connections, good tunes (think Ramones), and attractive girls that don’t look like they were plucked from a Japanese school girl magazine.

Before ripping on Taiwanese for their taste in coffee, try aiming for a coffee shop that doesn’t have a chain location around every block in every city.

We were in the convention district, Taipei 101 and all we could find was Starbucks. And I’ll update this post as I just remembered that during our bike ride we did stop and have a nice cup of espresso [near this bridge](

I also had horrid coffee in the airport, which prompted the post.

E-Coffee nr Dahon HQ is pretty good! But the chain factor makes things random for sure.

Taiwan used to a coffee snobs wasteland… but has improved tremedously. Many hidden shops abound and tracking them down is 77% of the fun.


Next time and I’m the snobbiest of them all! We also saw Barista coffee which oddly also looked like Starbucks, but with an Indian Head logo.

Barista is the best, by far. 85C has the best cakes, IMHO. McDonald’s beats starbucks when they remember to clean the frickin’ machines….

Strangely enough, the Chinese name for Barista coffee, when translated directly into English, is none other than…

Seattle’s Best Coffee.

Can you smell lawsuit?

A consistent source of “pretty good” coffee is actually what I said. I like Starbucks.

Michael - When I was in Australia earlier this year - my favorite find was McCafe!  That place had GREAT “iced coffee” which is essentially a shot of espresso, a little milk, ice cream, and whip cream.  What a great post-ride drink!

That - and their prices were ~1/2 that of Starbucks ($8 Vente Mocha!?).  When they introduce that model in the nicer locations in the US…it’ll be trouble for the Bux.


We welcomed the Starbucks in Taipei and it was “mediocre,” which is a helluva lot better than the putrid e-coffee. I make my own coffee at home, so my snob standard applies. I think others would definitely say it was “pretty good.” I may have muttered, “good” under my breath once when I first sipped it.

IV Drip,

E-coffee’s strange green-tea drink was popular with the conference attendees. I called it strange, cause I don’t really know how to describe it. It was tea-like, iced, bitter, possibly with some carbonation in a cup that had lots of markings on it. Do you know what that was?

We also tried another drink in a street market that was made from a root and was like lemonade but with gelatin-blobs in it. Takes a while to get used to it, but very refreshing. Sip, sip, blob, sip.

Yeah, the green tea drink is basically a Green Tea Latte. It’s an idea that comes from Hong Kong, where they mix milk tea and coffee in the mornings.

But green tea is supremely popular in Taiwan and Japan, so there are all these green tea variations available. Just the other day, I saw green tea donuts at Mister Donut.

The Taiwanese are really into their drinks. My personal favorite is honey lemonade with chunks of aloe vera cactus in it.


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