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Translated to Chinese by Teresa Lee.
With the rapid commercialization of society, coffee nowadays is closely associated with the modern working life—fast paced, high-stress living, constant need of energy replenishment and the like, and Starbucks—with its practically identical stores—is a large part of this age. We drink Starbucks because it’s Starbucks and not to enjoy a coffee over a good book or a good view. We grab a quick coffee on the way to work without sitting down in a beautifully designed space and pondering some of life’s deepest questions. Luckily, it’s not all bad, as these 10 Starbucks stores in Taiwan break from the tradition and offer you the option to slow down and truly appreciate the art of coffee.
Located on the 35th floor of Taiwan’s most iconic building, this Starbucks store housed in the Taipei 101 offers customers the best view in Taipei. It is also one of the few stores that require booking in advance so check in a day early to ensure a seat in one of the highest Starbucks stores in the country. Although it is known that the shop is located on the 35th floor of the building, actually finding it is a different story. The store is strategically hidden, and the Starbucks staff personally come down to the ground floor to escort customers up.
image via Project Weekends
Blending modern and historic architecture, the Starbucks store in Dadaocheng‘s Bao’an street is a unique work of art. The store inhabits the first three floors of a beautiful European-style red-brick building that was originally part of the a mansion built in 1926 by a wealthy owner of a canned pineapple company. Inside, the sun-drenched second floor is extremely elegant, preserving the historic staircase and hanging lights, with the Starbucks logo etched on the large window pane framed by Greek ionic columns. Likewise, the third floor of the shop feels like an old-fashioned library, with a long row of arched wooden windows. From a distance, the modern high rise atop the mansion matches any other skyscraper in the city. Up close, the building’s baroque and historic design is displayed as a tasteful remembrance of the past.
The once predominantly residential district of Neihu has now become a modern high-density urban area with a large number of the working class and celebrities passing through on a daily basis. Keeping up with the trends, the Starbucks on Minquan is Taiwan’s first “green”-themed cafe also with a LEED certification from the U.S. Building Council. Made mainly of wood with high ceilings, the store is lit by LED lights and the sunlight through the large windows. Adding to the shop’s eco-friendly factor, the store also employs an airflow control system inside and a rainwater collection system outside. The patio includes a plant wall and other greenery, and there is also bicycle parking to encourage environmentally-friendly practices.
Also located in Neihu, the Chenggong store was once the only Starbucks store that offered meals. Although meals have not been sold for several months, there has been no official announcement that they have been taken off the menu. The shop’s exterior design falls away from the typical “Starbucks look” of ceiling high windows and glass doors. Instead, large, wooden double doors, brick walls and windows darkened by net curtains create a more mysterious vibe. The interior design follows the darker theme and consists of metal, brick and wood. The arrangement of cool metal juxtaposing rustic brick and wood is balanced and classy—combining the rural and urban look into one.
This store is located on the curved corner of Nanjing West road, close to Zhongshan MRT station and Ningxia night market. One of the highlights of the store sits on the mezzanine second floor—a glass panel painted with a replica of the Yuanhuan area in its heyday with unique Starbucks designs and words hidden in the details, backlit with the light drenching through the ceiling windows. Darker, textured wood, leather seats, metal piping from which lights dangle and the silver floor give off a distinctively urban, sophisticated vibe.
As a celebration for Starbucks’ 16th anniversary, the Zhongzheng store in Tainan opened as the first drive thru Starbucks in Taiwan. Ordering a coffee is now quick, easy and fun, thanks to electronic menus, cute graffiti of famous locations in Tainan on the walls of the building, as well as Starbucks’ star-shaped lane markings. The interior of the store continues with the hipster additions of the word “STARBUCKS” painted on a cork wall à la the Hollywood sign. Starbucks products and merchandise are displayed on a traditional wooden ox cart—a detail that accentuates the unique flavor of rural Tainan.
Billed as one of the largest Starbucks in the Asia-Pacific region, the Zhongqin store is the fourth Starbucks in Taiwan that offers a drive thru. The spacious store occupies approximately 800-ping, seats 285 customers and offers a parking lot with fifty spaces. The building is centered around an outdoor garden that customers are free to enjoy. The store’s outside is very simple, and its interior theme continues with the minimalistic and retro tradition, with grey, black and wood serving as the main palette.
Located in one of Taiwan’s most romantic locations, the Starbucks in Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most beautiful. The store is part of the Furong Hotel, which was designed to resemble a cruise ship. With a blue and white, almost Mediterranean exterior, paired with the beautiful scenery of the sun and sea, it is one of the best date spots and should definitely be on the list of Starbucks stores to visit. In the late afternoon or early evening, secure yourself a window seat just in time to enjoy the sunset illuminating Lovers’ Bridge, the harbor and the sea.
image via 咖啡大叔
If the mermaid logo on the street is not enough, the quirky architecture of the Starbucks Minglun store will surely catch your eye. The store is designed with half the building slanted upwards to lead to the second floor. Outdoor seats are available for customers in the open space underneath the second floor, and those who choose to sit inside have floor to ceiling windows to enjoy the view of Kaohsiung’s beautiful Aozihdi Park. Rather than retro photos or minimalist art, the interior of the store is dotted with colorful paintings, possibly to match the culture of the artsy area.
Starbucks’ Fisherman’s Wharf is not the only one to offer a great view of the ocean to go along with your midday coffee. Furnished mainly with wooden tables, the Sizihwan store is decorated with red velvet seats and oil lamp lights that look like they were taken straight off the Titanic. The spacious and sunny walkways outside are a great change of scene from the usual crowded bustling streets of Taipei. After touring Sizihwan’s artistic locations, this Starbucks store is a great and relaxing last stop to enjoy a view of the sunset and the skyline of Kaohsiung.