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Glacier Coffee Roasters

A little corner of Montana in Taichung

By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Alicia Yu

119-1, WenXin Rd, Sec 3, Xitun Dist; (04) 2311-1200
Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am-6 pm; Sat and Sun 9 am-9 pm
English and Wi-Fi available.
Minimum charge NT$80/person.
Cash only.
No service charge.

As this writer can personally testify, Glacier National Park, in the American state of Montana, is a stunning showcase of beautiful scenery and wildlife. Thus, it is no surprise that it inspired Hans Chen and his wife Ann Li to open Glacier Coffee Roasters, a coffee house that offers local customers outstanding brews and a good helping of American Western ambiance.

An unforgettable 10 days in Glacier National Park a few years ago led Hans, previously an ad executive, and Ann, from a nursing background, to return to Taichung and open this spacious, self-serve cafe whose main focus is great coffees, mostly made with imported, single-origin and blended beans from Intelligentsia Coffee (based in Chicago, where the couple also once lived). A famed "third-wave coffee" company, Intelligentsia focuses on light-roasted, Arabica-only beans, resulting in fuller flavors.

Glacier Coffee Roasters Glacier Coffee Roasters Glacier Coffee Roasters
Medium: Hans Chen and Ann Li
Right: The Cappuccino (NT$130) is a beautiful example of latte art

Glacier offers about 10 types of coffees (NT$100-290) with about 4-6 bean types, including drip ("pour over") and single-origin espresso styles, which are difficult to make. High-end beans and coffee-making paraphernalia are also available for take-home. This includes nine Glacier coffee cups, each featuring a different Glacier animal. Hans notes that currently 30% of his customers work in the coffee industry--a testament to the professionalism and commitment to coffee here.

Besides coffee, there are also juice, hot chocolate and black and milk teas from England's Fortnum & Mason. On the food side are six light-meal combos (NT$160-299), all named after Glacier wildlife, such as the NT$299 Grizzly Bear Choice (2 breads, 1 quiche, salad and 1 drink choice). Just as tasty are desserts, including various non-bake cheesecakes (NT$100/slice), pound cake, and the rich Zebra German chocolate dessert.

Glacier Coffee Roasters Glacier Coffee Roasters Glacier Coffee Roasters
Left: Black Bear's Choice combo (NT$270) Medium: Zebra dessert
Right: "Pour Over" (drip) Coffee (NT$180) made with a US-imported Gino Glass Dripper

All this can be enjoyed in a two-floor setting that has an American lodge-style feeling, complete with unvarnished wood fixtures and furniture, attractive photos of Montana and wildlife, high ceilings, comfy chairs and cushions, and country-and-western music. Although Montana may be very far away, locals can still enjoy this very appealing piece of the American West, not to mention amazing the coffees, that Hans and Ann have created here in Taichung.

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