hiiibirdie

Another lazy Sunday afternoon at home and sunlight is filtering through a crinkled-glass window creating a soft, hazy, yellow glow that’s perfect for a nap. Though tempting, I knew I needed to plan my lessons and opted to leave the too comfortable apartment. So Pete and I decided to stretch our legs and brains and walked to a new cafe. With no expectations, aside from a hot cup of coffee and a chair, I entered hiiibirdie and so began my obsession.

The exterior of hiiibirdie.

*Full disclosure: hiiibirdie isn’t in Taipei, but in the surrounding suburb of Linkou. Regardless, my adoration for this place transcends labels so I will include in my Taipei Cafe series.

As I slid the flimsy wooden door to the right, I entered a larger-than-expected room and was immediately greeted by a generous amount of sunlight cascading over the wooden furniture and the slightly cracked concrete floor. As I watched the sun rays dance over mismatched chairs, the smell of lingering caramelized sugar reached me.

A few trepid steps inside, a kind apron-adorned employee asked us to sit down then placed the menu, housed in a soft light brown leather notebook, in front of us. Not sure what to order, I took a moment to absorb my surroundings.

I turned my head to the right and took note of the 12-foot high ceiling the color of rusted cement that reflected the warm orange and brown hues found among the quaint decor. Though none of the chairs matched, there was a symmetry in their varying shades of wooden browns and yellows, rusted white, and black which combined into a sweet effect.

I then spotted a muted pea green couch with matching arm chairs – all low to the ground and inviting customers to truly rest and relax. From the couch’s vantage point stood two large glass doors that nearly reached the ceiling and welcomed the sun. The doors were left slightly open to let a fraction of the outside breeze and the cafe’s cat inside.

Beyond the window laid a playground and basketball court teeming with running children, chatting families, and dribbling basketballs.

I turned my head to the left and saw a geometric wooden bookshelf fashioned from a contemporary Scandinavian design. The shelving unit was split in half by a large green chalkboard decorated with children’s art, important messages, and the wifi password.

“What are you going to get?” asked Peter and I was instantly snapped back. I walked to the front counter and ordered a Matcha latte, Pete a cup of coffee. Standing there, I saw a dozen glass jars filled with coffee beans from around the world ready to be ground and used with a ceramic pour over set. The barista asked us to smell each bean to help decide which one is best to drink.

Behind the wood slated counter was a small, but well used kitchen where they make all of their desserts. Even from our seat, the pots, pans, ovens and utensils are all visible adding to the cozy home effect which made this place even more charming.

The desserts are then shown off to right of the counter in a mini display. Inside were apple pies, lemon tarts, honey glazed cakes, and Matcha cake.

Here’s a Matcha latte served on a cute wooden plate and matching wooden spoon.
French Toast Breakfast, complete with Bacon, cubed orange and grapes, salad, and a cup of refillable coffee.

Since this first visit, I’ve returned to hiiibirdie countless times. It’s genuinely my favorite weekend brunch spot to enjoy a pour over, Matcha latte, French toast brunch, or just a slice of pie. Not only do I admire the craft and care for their food and drinks, but I love the quiet and spacious atmosphere. Sitting there drinking a latte and reading a book on my Kindle, I am always transported to a flourishing green countryside where the birds chirping, children laughing, grass swaying in the wind’s hushed blows combine into that rare song of pleasure and bliss.

5/5 cups of coffee!

Wild Mii Safari Cafe

For nearly a year, I’ve chewed on the idea of writing a series about my favorite cafes in Taipei. I’ve been hesitant in the name of ‘research,’ but the time has come.

Before I dive into the inaugural post of my Taipei Cafe series, I want to let ya’ll know that no one is paying me. I am doing this because a) I love cafes b) I want to write my experiences to reference in the future c) I want to share my experiences so others can potentially enjoy it as well.

Starting the series is WildMii Safari Cafe in Da’an District.

I have walked past this place numerous times en route to Pica Pica (another favorite cafe that I will write about in the future) without giving it much thought. The exterior gives off an overpriced microwave meals vibe. I much prefer a lowkey, tea/coffee focused cafe with ample work space.

Some days, the charms of the unknown whims take over, and you find yourself in a place you had no intention of entering. The original plan was to complete a photo editing project at Pica Pica, but without hesitation, I walked into WildMii. It silently called me, and I obeyed.

Compared to the cold, spring rain, the warmly lit interior was immediately inviting. I asked for a teapot of Osmanthus Tea then sat down at a glossy, black-tiled table next to an outlet. This is a loose-leaf, caffeine-free tea that I typically order after work for a warm treat.

Once seated, I looked towards the entrance and saw an impressive shelving unit made from black iron forged into geometric shapes, with wooden squares nestled inside at intermittent intervals. Within those wooden cubes were, what I assumed, empty glass tanks. The shelves seemed like a cheap attempt at modern, Instagram-ready decor that I find lame.

Waiting for my tea to brew and procrastinating on starting my project, I stood next to a window to watch the rain when a dark, slow movement caught my attention. “What’s this?” I audibly gasped. “Turtles…HERE?!”

Recalling the name of the cafe, I skeptically walked back to the feature wall for a closer inspection. Inside the glass tanks were real, living, zoo animals!

A perched Chameleon, strongly resembling a disgruntled grandfather, refused to make eye contact with me. I walked past a deathly still tarantula. The disinterest was mutual. I continued past two sleeping sugar gliders cuddling with one another inside of a blue vase, and beyond them were waking mice, stretching and pushing one another.
Each tank revealed animals more surprising than the last. A case with hiding hedgehogs, slumbering ground squirrels, a bored gecko!

I looked back at the three other customers focused on their computer screens and wanted to scream “STOP what you are doing! There are cute animals to admire!” Instead, I continued enjoying the zoo alone.

I was compelled to finally sit when the barista placed the tea set next to my laptop. Equipped with a 3-minute sand timer, he instructed me to pour the tea into a warming vessel, which can be refilled at no additional cost, once the last crimson grain falls.

The presentation and the tea were delightful!

The interior is 1930’s glitz meets toned down French patio, with a variety of ferns, wicker and iron chairs, taxidermy decor, and a projector showing a slideshow of watercolor portraits of young women and animals. There was plenty of seating with large work-friendly tables, multiple outlets on each wall, courtesy phone charging station, free wifi, and water. I can certainly see myself coming back here in the future to work and sketch the animals.

I give WildMii, 5/5 cups of coffee.