Monday, 1 October 2012

Fong Da Coffee, Taipei

Fong Da Coffee, Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan
Chengdu Road in Ximending is a mini coffee hub. In the space of 200 metres, there are 3 independent coffee roasteries. Fong Da is probably the oldest, opening in 1956 and pulling shots ever since.


Fong Da is a roastery, cafe and retail space. Beans were being roasted during our first visit, and on subsequent visits also. This is not surprising - there are at least twelve different blends available in the retail section, and also on the menu.
I noticed that the twelve blends available in the retail section were all different shades of light / medium brown. This suggests that different roasting profiles are used for each blend. Only two of the blends were a dark, shiny brown colour - this is interesting, and the opposite of what I have seen in other cafes. It could be that the coffee culture in Taiwan is more established, and a higher proportion of cafes roast their own beans. As a result, consumers are used to different varieties in different cafes, rather than the uniform over roasted style that is used in franchise chains.
The coffee itself was great. The thing that immediately stood out in the shot below was the crema. It's a striking dark brown, typical of freshly roasted beans. The shot had a robust flavour that lingered, although on some days the shot was more intense.

The cappuccino was very, very smooth. The foam was perfect - steamed at the correct temperature and for the correct duration. The foam was a dark shade of brown towards the edge of the cup, however the silkly smooth foam acted as the perfect complement to the strong coffee flavour. There was also a good range of syphon coffees available.

I can see exactly why Fong Da has survived for so long - the coffee is great. Fong Da became our regular coffee place during our time in Taipei - I would definitely go back.

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