July 26, 2012

Jeanlook Coffee Only

Address: No. 4, Alley 6, Lane 553, Section 4, Zhōngxiào East Rd, Sinyi District
Telephone: (02) 2763-9909
Hours: 12pm to 10pm, days not listed
Price: $$

A block away from the Taipei Comedy Club, Jeanlook COFFEE ONLY is a specialty coffee shop a la Roaster Family Coffee. There are many coffee shops in Taipei that roast, grind, and brew exotic beans but I was eager to see what Jeanlook had to offer.

The interior of Jeanlook is very minimalist: white walls, tiled floor, wooden tables, stainless steel appliances. It has an upscale feel to it, a vibe contributed to by the patrons. The menu, for all intents and purposes, is in Chinese. ... Okay, the title of the beverage is in English, but not much else. I ordered a coffee smoothie but was told they hadn't the necessary ingredients. Looks like I'll settle for a cold tiramisu latte ($230 NT).
I really wanted to like this drink. Honestly, I did. Overall, the presentation was good. It looked aesthetically pleasing and photographed well. 
But looks aren't everything. 
The first thing I noticed upon pulling the drink closer? The latte was room temperature. The ice cubes hadn't yet worked their magic and the barista thought nothing of handing me a lukewarm latte. 
I know there are different ways to make a tiramisu latte. Toppings can consist of whipped cream, steamed milk, caramel sauce, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or whatever else evokes the taste of tiramisu. Though I'm used to whipped cream as the main topping, foam is fine. I'm not really drinking the beverage for the toppings, so as long as the actual liquid portion of the drink is on point, I'm satisfied. 
It takes me just a sip to realize something is horribly wrong here. Where's the shot of tiramisu? Or, failing tiramisu syrup, gingerbread/caramel/cinnamon/french vanilla syrup? Really just ANY syrup? This latte was exactly that ... a latte. A latte with foam on top. A latte with foam on top for $230 NT. I asked the barista if this was my tiramisu latte and she confirmed that, yes, it was. 
While normally I would try to give Jeanlook another shot, the prices preclude me from making that promise. The prices range from $160 NT - $330 NT; the fancier brews are most expensive, while items like the coffee smoothie are on the cheaper side. I'm not willing to gamble on this particular cafe, but if you're more adventurous (and your Chinese is good) order anything but the tiramisu latte. There's no service charge and the afternoon tea sets looked delicious (albeit expensive).
Their Facebook page is listed under Zhanlu Coffee, as is their main website. I'm not sure if they're changing their name or changing management, so I can't shed any light on the discrepancy.

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