This urban environment and doglessness is forcing my body into new routines. I can deal with the physical reality of being away from the pets, but my caffeine addiction is a hard habit to shake.
Luckily, Taipei is now dotted with more specialty coffeeshops than I’ve ever imagined. Unfortunately, they are not cheap. You pay for atmosphere and comfort, not just what’s in the mug.
For me, I’ll willingly fork over $4 for a drink if I get to spend it in the company of a personable store dog. After not having gotten to pet an animal in over two whole weeks, I was eager to make friends with even this brachycephalic, bug-eyed, pink-skinned Boston Terrier at No. 14 Cafe.
I’d say he’s qualified to be called an urban “working” dog — his role is to greet, inspect, and welcome all incoming guests. He excels at his job.
Placards at every table address the commonly asked questions:
inside diners, please order at the bar
minimum purchase 100NT per person
service with a smile? nope, and nope.
water for tea, help yourself — wifi password 66666 — thanks
dog’s called Pidan — 4 years old
Pidan means leather/preserved/century/thousand-year-old egg. One of these things:
As weirded out as I am by pets named after food items, this is a very fitting (and cute) name for a Boston Terrier. Lots of things about him are rather egg-shaped.
A caramel cappuccino is usually priced at
140NT 100NT (the current exchange rate is about 30NT = USD$1). I almost scored an “imperfect latte art” discount. Guy takes his craft very seriously, as he’s the one that pointed out the misshapen splotch.
Mr. barista-owner takes responsibility for everything, including selecting and roasting the beans to taste, and of course the overall design of the shop. What results is a strong, tasty brew offered in a homey, unique setting.
It’s a small-capacity cafe, accommodating about 14~18 seated indoor customers at any given time, and about three people outdoors. Given the limited seating, I wasn’t sure if it was the type of place where one could just set up shop and do their own thing. However, since the owner himself maintains a hands-off, laid-back attitude, I’d say you’re free to occupy your space however you’d like. While you’re hatching your next business venture, doodling in your travel journal, slogging through a stack of photocopies to read, or drafting your next blog entry, the owner’s off in his own world — training his dog, and occasionally recording videos of himself playing his acoustic guitar (Pidan oversees the production of all videos).
Nevertheless, good cafe etiquette always applies. As long as you meet the minimum charge, and there are spaces available, you’re welcome to linger. Should it get busy, be respectful of the need for table turnover, and pack up within a reasonable amount of time. I came in on a weekday towards the late afternoon and stayed a couple hours until dinnertime, and it was never at more than half capacity during my entire stay.
If the place is usually so chill, I expect to become a regular over the next few months.
No. 14 Coffee Shop 14號咖啡館 location details
No. 14, Alley 4, Lane 345, Section 4, Rén’ài Rd 仁愛路四段345巷4弄14號 [map]
Daan District 大安區 Taipei City 106 台北市106
Closest MRT stop: Zhongxiao Dunhua 捷運忠孝敦化
Nearest bus stop: Cathay Hospital (Ren’ai) 國泰醫院（仁愛路）
In the vicinity of: Eslite Dunhua 誠品敦化店, between Anhe Rd. 安和路 and Yanji St. 延吉街, closer to Ren’ai
Wireless: Yes, free
Electrical outlets: Not really; hidden at about 2 seats
Smoking area: Outside
Atmosphere: Small capacity and hushed, slightly uncomfortable cushioned and bench seating, nice lighting, bad music