Monday, 1 October 2012

Nanmay Cafe, Taipei

Nanmay Coffee, Chengdu Road, Ximending, Taipei

Ximending is the Taipei equivalent of Bugis in Singapore, or Shibuya / Harajuku in Tokyo. It's an interesting mix of older shops that have been in the area for generations, and new shops and stalls set up more recently. Nanmay coffee (and Fong Da coffee) both fall into the first category, sitting side by side on Chengdu road.

The espresso shot had a medium, light brown coloured crema - this suggests that the beans used were roasted relatively recently. There was also no burnt or stale, oxidised taste. This was a very light espresso, with no dominant flavour or strong aftertaste. The lack of flavour and the volume of liquid in the cup were consistent with a shot that has been overextracted.

The cappuccino above was topped with cinnamon, but not enough enough to drown out the coffee flavour. A lot of cafes serve cauppuccino's which are essentially warm, caffeinated milk - they cease to be coffee! This is not the case here - I could taste both the coffee and the cinnamon, with the smooth mouthfeel of steamed milk. A double shot might have helped though, as their espresso shots are quite light.   

There were also a selection of drip coffees on the menu, as well as cold brewed coffee.

The retail space is great - very well stocked with beans, machines and accessories. This is one of the better retail spaces that I've seen, with a significant attention to detail. The staff have obviously put some thought into what makes a good cup of coffee, selling everything from coffee grinders to water filters - this is a good place for anyone who makes coffee at home.

There is also a (limited) food menu, with a number of breakfast items.

Overall, it's not bad - I've had worse espresso. It's unfortunate that it's located directly beside Fong Da Coffee, which has been in place since 1956, and attracts a lot of potential customers. Worth a visit if Fong Da is packed, or if you want to pick up some coffee supplies.

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