A review of an independent coffeehouse, Paper Street Coffee. Notes are by an amateur coffee enthusiast and shoestring digital nomad. Descriptions are equal parts coffee and remote-work suitability. Most photos are shot with a second-hand Fujifilm X100. This cafe is part of my Taipei Coffee Walk: NTU, Zhongzheng & Da’An District.
Recently, I bought a plane ticket to Taipei on a whim. The thought entered my head Friday night. I bought the ticket on Saturday, and Sunday evening I boarded my plane. Since moving to Asia over 8 years ago, Taipei’s always been a staple, sleepy getaway. Since 2010, Third Wave Coffee has taken root and blossomed and every time I drop by, there are new places to visit.
That’s all to say, Paper Street Coffee was one of them. I saw it mentioned by some of the pickier local coffee reviewers. They went so far as to say it was the best in the city, so it piqued my curiosity.
Because most reviews also said the place was busy during the day on weekends. Going for an early morning coffee run wasn’t an option as, like most other cafes in Taipei, they don’t cater for the office rush hour and open at 10am. My second option was to go at night on my last day after work.
As someone who loves atmospheric settings and quiet spaces, going at night worked out. I spent a good 5 minutes facing their storefront, imagining I was in some corner of Brooklyn.
The espresso was decent, but not spectacular. Priced at 110 NTD, it’s more economical than other places of the same quality. Other bloggers have also applauded their single origin selection, so do consider asking what they have. As it was my 4th cup of the day, I didn’t want all the caffeine in a filter coffee, so I ordered a cappuccino. The latte art isn’t much to speak of visually, but the froth was decent enough. Of course, if I had a double-shot the flavours would be more distinct.
As for remote work, I noticed one or two plugs, but the place doesn’t have Wi-Fi. The available seating is the group table, the window counter, and 3-5 seats (if you squeeze) at the brew bar.
Their Story / What I like About Them:
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to chat with the barista about the cafe’s concept. Even from outside, I could tell he was engrossed in conversation with the friend sitting at the counter. The exchange, oddly, felt like an invitation — to any person who washed up in this corner of Taipei, on a late night, wanting a bit of space and time to themselves.
I tried to stay out of their way aside from making my drink order. Without headphones, I couldn’t help but overhear them discuss personal matters, but once I got to work, their low voices merged with the swoosh of cars racing over puddles outside the window.
Some cafe bloggers write that the place was established as an homage to Australian coffee culture. But, I spotted a Manhattan map on a wall and the stark white walls with black accents and minimalist lamp shades convince me there must be a bit of East Coast mixed in. Plus, the barista’s got his baseball cap.
If you’ve read my other cafe reviews, this one will seem a bit out of place. But this charming encounter reminded me that at the end of the day, many of the cafes we love are for the encounters that we collect. Sometimes, they’re shared, as would be the case if it was a friendly barista. Other times, it’s just circumstance.
But, if you are a little homesick for the East Coast and you drop by on an evening just after the rains, this place will be that small corner of Taipei that will remind you of home.
- Coffee: Espresso, pour-over
- Food: Pastries, cakes
- Cafe Space: About 20 seats (including the brewing counter).
- Friends: Hangouts, catching up, readings
- Workspace: Window counter table, big group table, brewing counter
- Remote Work: No Wi-Fi. Some plugs available.
No. 28, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10058
If you liked this post, check out the other cafes in my Taipei Coffee Walk: NTU, Zhongzheng and Da’an Districts!