We love Taipei, a greyish city with dreary, grey buildings but so full of life and colour in its people, food and streets! Whether it’s a typical breakfast of youtiao (fried crullers) dipped in hot, frothy doujiang (soymilk) or getting lost in the maze of endless shelves at the 24-hour Eslite Bookstore, we never have a dull moment in the Taiwanese capital.
No surprise then even the coffee experience here is one step above the rest. There are cafés everywhere — serving dainty desserts or for your pets to socialize with other furry friends — but quite a number are specialty coffee bars with passionate baristas dedicated to their craft.
Rufous Coffee belongs to the latter category.
Our American-Taiwanese friend Jenny brings us here as it’s one of her favourite coffee haunts. The café is typically packed with students given its proximity to the National Taiwan University but the wait is softened by some comfortable seats outside. A few customers choose to have their espressos outside and then dash off. The locals here seem to be in a perpetual rush, which makes an opportunity to linger over one’s coffee a luxury we’re grateful for.
The name comes from the colour “rufous” which is reddish-brown or rust-like. According to the owner, Xiao Yang, this is the true colour of coffee. Once inside, many scramble for a bar seat in order to watch him brew their coffee. We settle for more comfortable seats at a table. Space is limited but it adds to the cosy, eclectic atmosphere, not unlike a shop selling curios, what with the dark corners, odd paraphernalia, an assortment of toys and postcards from customers from all over the globe.
A former chef in Italian cuisine, Xiao Yang is in charge of every step of the process from sourcing the beans to roasting and brewing. Our cups, when they arrive, are made with much care and craft. Nothing’s better than sipping our slow brews while the rain – another indispensable feature of Taipei – continues outside.
No. 339, Section 2, Fuxing South Road, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Fri-Wed 1pm-11pm / Thu closed