Tea shops

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Dec 30, 2013

▲ Menu from a chain tea shop.

▲ Chinese menu from a chain tea shop - 1.

▲ Chinese menu from a chain tea shop - 2.

▲ Chinese menu from a chain tea shop - 3.

▲ Chain tea shop - 1

▲ Chain tea shop - 2

▲ Chain tea shop - 3

Tea shops can now be seen everywhere in Taiwan. Since the business is highly competitive, the quality of drinks they provide is very high, too.

Basically these shops offer (1) Tea (Hot / Cold) (2) Milk tea (3) Juice. The price falls between $1-$2 USD.

According to wikipedia, there're six main categories of teas, which are (1) Black tea (紅茶) (2) Green tea (綠茶) (3) Oolong tea (烏龍茶) (4) Fermented tea (黑茶) (5) White tea (白茶) (6) Yellow tea (黃茶). (1), (2), and (3) are almost available everywhere in Taiwan. The following explanations by Lindsey Goodwin (http://coffeetea.about.com/) may be useful to the readers.

Black tea's processing is different from other types in that it is fully (or almost fully) oxidized. Oxidation (氧化發酵過程) is the same natural process that occurs when you muddle herbs and allow their flavors and aromas to develop for a few minutes. Typically, black tea is rolled or crushed with machines to release its natural essential oils, which react with oxygen in the air to change the flavor and aroma of the leaves. When oxidation is deemed complete, the tea is heated and dried to end the oxidation process.

Unlike black tea, green tea is unoxidized. Japanese green teas (such as Sencha and Gyokuro) are typically steamed. Chinese-style teas (such as Long Jing (龍井) and Bi Luo Chun (碧螺春)) are typically processed with dry heat using an oven-like rotating drum and/or a cooking vessel similar to a wok.

Oolong is often described as 'somewhere between green and oolong tea.' Whereas green tea is unoxidized and black tea is (almost) fully oxidized, oolong tea is partially oxidized. It is rolled by hand or machine (to bring the essential oils to the surface for oxidation) and pan fired, and then allowed to oxidize. This process is repeated many times until the desired level of oxidation is achieved. During this process, the leaves may be rolled into balls, twisted or otherwise shaped. Many oolongs are roasted after they have been oxidized in order to further develop their flavors and aromas. However, there are additional processing techniques (such as rolling and shaping) which further differentiate oolong from black tea and green tea.

Let's get back to the topic. What the Taiwanese people do with these teas is that they add all kinds of flavors to these teas. For example, they add passionfruit juice to green tea (百香綠茶), add Yakult to green tea (多多綠茶), add plum juice to green tea (梅子綠茶), add peach juice to black tea (蜜桃紅茶), where these are all very common items in Taiwan.

For milk teas, they add tapioca bubbles (粉圓) to milk tea to become "bubble tea" (珍珠奶茶), which is a very famous drink originated from Taiwan. Other than putting bubbles into milk tea, they also add puddings, grass jellies (仙草), aloe extracts (蘆薈), or nata de cocos (extracts from coconuts, 椰果) into milk tea, upon customers' requests.

If you do not want anything added to your tea, these tea shops also provides very nice hot teas (black / green / Oolong). Some of Taiwan's top ten teas are available at these tea shops. (These include: 凍頂茶, 文山包種茶, 東方美人茶, 松柏長青茶, 木柵鐵觀音, 三峽龍井茶, 阿里山珠露茶, 高山茶, 龍泉茶, 日月潭紅茶, copy, paste, and google these terms if you're interested).

For many tea drinks they offer, you may decide how much addtional ice or sugar to be added to your drinks. Usually there're 5 different levels each for you to choose from, just like in the US if you go to indian restaurants you may decide how spicy your entree is.

▲ Passion fruit green tea. (百香綠茶) (http://buy.gomaji.com/)

▲ Pudding milk tea. (布丁奶茶) (http://www.uniquecap.com/)

Coffee shops

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Dec 30, 2013

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▲ My favorite chain coffee shop in Taipei, Dante coffee (http://www.ipeen.com.tw/)

▲ The front desk and the menu (http://www.ipeen.com.tw/)

▲ Inside the coffee shop - 1

▲ Inside the coffee shop - 2

▲ A good coffee shop comes with great desserts.

▲ The menu from Cama coffee (http://wmhuang.pixnet.net/)

▲ The menu from Dante coffee (http://travelkitten.pixnet.net/)

Some of the coffee shops in Taiwan provides many drink options other than coffees. But I never see Cafe au lait appeared on the menu of Taiwanese coffee shops (Probably we just view them as Lattes). I also seldom see white chocolate mochas in Taiwan.

A few coffee shops also provides various options of coffee beans. For example, customers may choose from the menu (Jamaican) Blue Mountain Coffee, (Sumatra) Mandheling Coffee (bitter), Brazilian Coffee (moderate), or Kenya AA Coffee (sour).

Convenience stores

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Dec 30, 2013

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▲ All kinds of drinks from the 7-Eleven in Taiwan - 1 (http://taipei543.com/)

▲ All kinds of drinks from the 7-Eleven in Taiwan - 2 (http://taiwancost.blogspot.com/)

For milks, we have chocolate milks, papaya milks, apple milks, melon milks, banana milks, and more; there're several soy milk options, and rice peanut milk; for juices, we have veggie juice, tomato juice, pomegranate juice, orange juice, grape juice, lemon juice, asparagus juice, cranberry juice; there're several iced coffee selections; for teas, we have lemon black tea, black tea, Oolong tea, green tea; and all kinds of milk teas.

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