I was in desperate need for a cup of coffee when I chanced upon Luguo, a 2nd-floor cafe in ArtAlley, which has evolved into one of Taipei’s most happening arts and crafts hub.
Despite having plans of doing a proper coffee crawl in Taipei, I simply didn’t have the time to go out and explore, so when the opportunity finally came for a bit of a caffeine break, I took out my pre-prepared Google Map for all the hot coffee spots in Taipei and dragged my friends to Dihua Street.
We found Luguo Cafe among cool stores that sell a wide variety of handmade and well-crafted merchandise. Art Alley is one of Taipei’s many communes where artists can gather and sell or display their art. It’s only fitting that Luguo serves as a center for lively discussions about art and culture, which is basically what’s cool about coffee shops – they become venues for stimulating conversations.
It was in Luguo, however, that I first learned of Taipei’s odd rule when it comes to ordering. Basically, my friends didn’t want to drink any coffee with me and were just planning to take pictures of the place and sit a while with me while I finish my hand-poured coffee. However, they were approached by the staff and were asked to order, since it’s cafe policy that everyone who’s present must order at least a drink. Coming from a culture where such a policy is unheard of, it was quite a shock.
They were quite adamant at offering the menu to my friends, who decided to just walk out and leave me to enjoy my quick cup of coffee. They weren’t rude or pushy – just very firm on the policy. So I guess when in Rome, right? We found the same policy to be the norm around Taipei, as I later on spent more time alone in coffee shops because my friends are not such big fans of overpriced specialty coffee.
With that hiccup aside (the cute baristas were apologetic), I thought the place was rather cool. It had wide windows that let in a lot of natural light, and there were mismatched furnitures that beckoned for us to sit and relax with a cup of coffee. I had the Luguo Blend, which is their house blend, and it was quite lovely: just the kind of blend that I needed to jumpstart my morning.
103, Taiwan, Taipei City, Datong District, Lane 32, Section 1, Dihua St.