- Starbucks in Taiwan has a very different menu from Starbucks in the US.
- You can get some coffee favourites that are offered in the US but in Taiwan most of the menu features tea – especially matcha.
- It has the same Starbucks quality, just with different offerings.
Starbucks is a global brand with locations in multiple countries. But what makes the location in Taipei, Taiwan so special is that it’s the highest Starbucks in the world. Located inside the Taipei 101 building, this Starbucks is 35 floors above the ground, but the coffee is just as delicious as it is at any street-level store.
Here’s what I tried and how the Taiwan location stacked up to Starbucks at home in the United States.
The space felt like any Starbucks — just way more serene.
You have to make a reservation to attend this specific Starbucks in the Taipei 101, so there’s no pushing for tables or over-crowded lines. It was really peaceful and each reservation lasts 90 minutes, so you can actually hang out and enjoy your fare.
The menu had a lot of tea and matcha-flavored items.
Teas were front and center on the Taipei menu – because those in Taiwan typically drink much more tea than coffee.
But there still were coffee classics like the flat white, caramel macchiato, and cold brew on the menu. The three friends I was travelling with ordered regular lattes and macchiatos and noticed no difference from the Starbucks’ flavours back home. The other biggest difference was the amount of matcha and green tea items.
And if you, like me, are from the US, you may want to set aside your usual order when you step into a Taiwanese Starbucks. Not only because the barista asked me “…are you sure?” when I asked for a plain iced coffee with a shot of vanilla and caramel, but also because the Starbucks in Taiwan offer drinks you can’t get in America – and they’re delicious.
Overall, the food offerings were also a bit different.
The location had some US Starbucks bakery favourites like bagels and croissants, but this location also had so many unique offerings including a strawberry matcha roll cake that stood out to me. Taiwan is big on roll cakes and even bigger on matcha. I ordered it and was pleasantly surprised at how light and fluffy it was. This cake gave me a caffeine boost and I loved the light whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
Although the matcha craze has hit American Starbucks to an extent, we’re still a long way off from all the green tea offerings this Starbucks had.
I thought the sesame green tea latte was a little grainy.
You could definitely taste the powdered sesame seeds, which gave this already pretty earthy-tasting drink a strange aftertaste. But after a few sips, I got used to the unique flavour.
The tasty iced matcha and espresso fusion is something American Starbucks should add to their menu.
With half-matcha, half-espresso, and a splash of milk, this drink was packed with caffeine. And it’s super delicious to boot. Plus, the ombre of the iced drink is really pretty for an Instagram pic.
The menu also had something called a rose fancy tea latte.
And it’s delicious. It smells like roses but just tastes like a creamy tea latte, and it made me feel fancy. If only it was pink, it would be perfect.
As a bonus, the view over Taipei was fantastic.
Sure, you don’t get this at every Taipei Starbucks, but it’s worth the trip to check this one out if you’re in the area. You just have to make a reservation ahead of time and spend at least 250 NT (New Taiwan dollars) there. But considering that’s just about $8 USD, it’s not that much more than what you’d probably spend at a Starbucks anyway.
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