Taipei Cafes: Yamada Coffee (Zhongzhen)

A review of an independent coffee roaster, Yamada Coffee near NTU in Taipei. Notes are by an amateur coffee enthusiast and digital nomad. I’ve written about this place because of its coffee quality, as it is not suitable for remote work (like my other posts). Most photos are shot with a second-hand Fujifilm X100. This cafe is part of my Taipei Coffee Walk: NTU, Zhongzheng & Da’An District.

山田咖啡 台北中正區

Yamada Coffee opened its first Taipei shop near Guting Station early 2017 — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

山田咖啡 台北中正區

Yamada Coffee is originally from Xinbei City in Northern Taiwan — Photo by Athena Lam

Late one evening after work, I learned about Yamada Coffee while standing on the counter of another cafe. The other cafe patron was a local NTU professor who began the conversation because he heard my speaking Cantonese — a reminder of home for someone who’d spent nearly a decade in Taiwan. We quickly segued into the quality of food and coffee, and he imparted his local wisdom.

kanazawa coffee brewing method

Brewing using the Kanazawa method requires adding water after — Photo by Athena Lam

He was particularly excited about a small local roaster he knew from Xinbei, where he taught for several years. Despite the Japanese name, the roaster is 100% local Taiwanese and only recently opened its brewing showroom in Taipei city. The coffee is reasonably priced, at around US$2, much lower than other independent cafes surrounding Guting.

I came for Yamada’s beans, which I highly recommend. I wanted to pick up the latest roast, so that it could last longer and was limited to 3 options since the roasting dates are on the bags. While the tasting notes are in Chinese, the place of origin is in English.

My real treat, however, was watching the Kanazawa brewing method. The Kanazawa brewing method comes with its own Kanazawa drip pot with a thermometre (about US$200 at Yamada Coffee and ¥13,8000 in Kanazawa City, Japan). They brew with the usual V60 filter until 100 mL, then they add water to taste.

Their Story / What I like About Them:

kanazawa coffee pot

Kanazawa water pot (金澤式ドリップポット) includes a thermos — Photo by Athena Lam

Yamada Coffee’s story began in 1925, when it was a licensed distributor for KŌNO coffee equipment. They also had the only KŌNO coffee roaster, and developed the KŌNO-style roasts using a lower even-roasting method (I’d like to know how too, but it was just a general Chinese summary).

The Kanazawa drip pot is sold at the Kanazawa Coffee Shop (Main store), and there isn’t yet much written about it outside of Japan. If you are interested in doing your own search, using Japanese will yield a few more results: “金澤式ドリップポット”. Kanazawa’s Shinkansen line connecting to Tokyo opened recently in 2015, and is worth a cultural visit in addition to the coffee!

You know a coffee shop cannot be half bad when it establishes itself outside of a major metropolis — a local area like Xinbei not known for coffee.

What they’ve brought to the mix of independent lifestyle cafes around Guting and the NTU area is clean and professional service. If you want to be left alone, the staff are happy to have you browse through the gadgets and their various roasts. Each roast has a tasting vial, and they encourage you to give it a shake to smell the flavours better. It’s just no-nonsense good coffee (in contrast to the many lounge-and-food oriented places that call themselves cafes in Taiwan).

yamada coffee independent roaster taipei

Yamada Coffee used Kono roasters for almost a century and still does small-batch roasting — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Pour-over (Kono or Kanazawa methods)
  • Food: None
  • Cafe Space: Not suitable for remote work
  • Friends: Nope – do takeaway!
  • Workspace: Not suitable for remote work. A counter for you to take quick notes.
  • Remote Work: Not suitable.
Address:  台北市中正區羅斯福路二段18號
No. 18, Section 2, Roosevelt Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Website:  Facebook
Hours:
營業時間
Weekdays: 8:00 ~ 19:30
Closed Tuesdays

If you liked this post, check out the other cafes in my Taipei Coffee Walk: NTU, Zhongzheng and Da’an Districts!

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