April 27, 2012

Roaster Family Coffee

Address: Lane 243, Jīnhuá Street, Daan District, Taiwan
Telephone: Not provided
Hours: Not listed
Price: $

Google Roaster Family Coffee and you'll pull up a slew of results. Too bad all these results are about the coffee branches in LA. Everyone in Taiwan will tell you that, despite Google's prolific mention of American locales, the RFC company sold it's first cup of coffee in Taiwan about 12 years ago. Using coffee siphons and eschewing the Starbucks model of fast, mass produced coffee concoctions, RFC serves up some of the best coffee around.
Confession: I've actually never been inside RFC (other than to settle my bill and take a quick glance around). The outdoor seating area is small but, being on the main road, lends itself to excellent people watching. The interior, or what I've seen of it, looks like a posh cafe with a muted gold and scarlet color scheme, coffee siphons everywhere.

RFC doesn't just serve coffee; there's a healthy collection of teas on the menu as well. Since I was feeling slightly under the weather, I ordered the lavender tea ($150 NT). RFC does sell food, but its fare is quite basic i.e. bagels, toast, etc. The focus is primarily on their beverages (can't fault them for that).
The lavender tea doesn't come with milk. Indeed, most of the RFC beverages arrive at your table sans sugar, milk, honey, or other additives that would alter the flavor of the coffee/tea. These people are "beverage naturalists"... if such a term even exists. So when my tea came with honey, I was quite surprised. This was probably a testament to how ill I looked. 
The tea was able to steep as long as you liked, which in my case was quite a while. Though I was a little congested and unable to taste much, after a couple sips my sinuses weren't as horribly congested. The tea is crisp, herb-esque, and tastes vaguely medicinal thanks to the lavender. This is exactly what I needed!

Deciding to make use of some of the honey, I poured in a dollop of the sweet stuff. The honey, in and of itself, was sweet without being overpowering. It was so runny, it was almost the same consistency as water. It didn't taste like the usual supermarket honey (thankfully), and I'm not ashamed to say I ate a couple spoonfuls of it.
RFC is a great place to go for a cup of coffee with friends (or tea when you're feeling ill). The menu is in Chinese and English, and the waitstaff is wonderful. The only mention of the Taiwan branch next to Da'an Park is on Facebook. While searching online, I also came across the possibility of a branch in Neihu. Looks like more research is in my future...

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