Something about Good Design Institute—the stark, white tiles with the thin, black borders, the coffee served in beakers and graduated cylinders, the skeleton that stands in the corner—is reminiscent of an alchemist’s lab. On each table sits a crystal enclosed in a hollow pyramid, like some healer’s device, as if to reinforce this aura of pseudoscience.
For the uninitiated, the process of making coffee is not so far off from alchemy. Beans are harvested from a faraway jungle, submitted to the elements of fire and water, and through some unspeakable voodoo, out comes liquid caffeine in a cup. (Clearly, I have only a vague idea of what I’m talking about, which makes the whole ordeal seem all the more magical.) Really, though, the best baristas are just practitioners of a highly technical craft, attentive to temperatures and ratios and brewing times. Their product is a result of study, not sorcery.
We could distill coffee down to its science, but I like this idea of preserving its mystique. That’s why places like Good Design Institute exist. It is refreshing to suspend rationality for a moment, like looking at horoscopes and wondering whether the stars will ever align, and to engage with the strange and the cultish and the whimsical.
Good Design Institute is the brainchild of a design studio, and the attention to aesthetics shows in details like the contrast of black-trimmed white tiles with parquet floor and the art deco font used for the menus. The cafe is focused on coffee and tea, though a small selection of nibbles is available. Besides having a drink, check out the curated selection of housewares on sale, which may include handcrafted wallets from Japan or candles from France. The decor regularly undergoes drastic changes—all the more incentive to make repeat visits.
Name in Chinese
No. 22, Lane 48, Wenzhou St, Da’an District, Taipei City
02 2362 0723
Around 160 TWD per person