Smile Cøffee

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If it wasn't the fact that my train ticket is still in my pocket, it would seem like we are back in Denmark again.

smile coffee taichung

I like the idea of cafes. I like the promise of a good afternoon. I like daydreaming while sipping my drink. I like how most of my new ideas begin in some sort of cafe hopping. Discovering new coffee shops has become part of my daily schedule, and I don't just limit my exploration in the city I live in. So today, let me bring all of you outside Taipei. Even though a handful of my family and friends live in Taichung, it's been a while since I visited the city, and I'm surprised to see how much this place has changed. A month ago, I received a message from Smile Cøffee, then got the chance to visit their latest branch earlier this week.

Rewind to our visit, we were greeted in Danish as soon as we walked in. If it wasn't the fact that my train ticket is still in my pocket, it would seem like we are back in Copenhagen again. Smile Cøffee was launched after three years of preparation, not only the team spend loads of time in designing the menu, but also to make sure the place delivers the right atmosphere. The owner Mr.Lee has been in the cafe business for more than 10 years, and yet, he is still passionate about his career. As he said, "We hope our guests didn't just visit our cafe for good coffee and food, but because they enjoy the atmosphere we created"

仔細想想,身邊許多親戚朋友都定居在台中。然而,因為自己已經離開台灣多年,除了宮原眼科、米糕或勤美誠品,對於這城市幾乎一無所知。這趟走訪,發現記憶趕不上變化,寬廣的空間賦予了當地人更多能發揮的空間,塑造了專屬於台中的生活步調。學期結束前一兩個星期,收到憲賣咖啡的訊息,點開連結被照片中裝潢和品牌形象吸引,也特別喜歡他們英文名 Smile Cøffee 背後的溫暖的語意,與店家確定日期後,就一直期待這天的到來。

憲賣咖啡熱河店位於台中北屯區,挑高的建築與淺灰色的牆面,前腳踏入,在店員友善的一聲「hej」後,彷彿再度回到哥本哈根。籌備三年多的 Smile Cøffee,除了在咖啡和餐點上用心,對於整體的氣氛也是細心地在營造。走訪當天也遇上老闆李先生,即便經營咖啡廳已經有超過十年的經驗,卻依然保有著熱情。他說,「我們希望客人之所以會來,不是因為我們的咖啡多厲害、餐點多好吃,而是發自內心的喜歡並享受這裡的氛圍。」

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

Since I spend most of the time in Taipei and London, where space is much more limited, I love how Smile Cøffee is bigger than the cafes I normally visit. And considering the large windows, loads of natural light were brought in. I personally love the warm barn tone of the entire place, where you can see some exposed ceiling and metal frames. The cafe comes with loads of beverage choices, Italian espresso, brewed coffee, fresh juice and tea. My friend ordered the Salted Brown Sugar Latte, which she has been complimenting all day (even after we left!). As for me, surprise surprise, the mixed berries smoothie. My bad, though I've always been telling myself to try something different, I can never say no to fresh smoothies.

寬敞的空間,由落地窗提升整體的明亮度。講究環保的回收木材,手輕輕拂過還是能感受到紋路。布沙發椅與裸露的紅銅色冷氣管,正如當初在哥本哈根旅遊時見到的紅磚瓦屋頂般,帶出了北歐的溫暖調性。恰到好處的規劃,將丹麥人樸實不造作的性格藉由穀倉風真實呈現。店裏的飲料選擇很多,主打的當然是咖啡,當天同行的友人點的是黑糖海鹽咖啡,輕嚐一口臉上隨即露出滿意的笑容。我呢,讀著餐單半天,因為早上出門太趕,便點了名稱為「讓我更有魅力」新鮮野梅果汁,以滿足沒吃早餐的胃。

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

Smile Cøffee is a cafe inspired by Denmark. After all, the country has been voted as the world's happiest place, and there is no better idea than introducing the coziness of hygge through some beautifully-made food and drink.

The food menu is so exciting. I spent quite a while deciding what I want, though secretly I would love to have everything. Scandinavian treats like smørrebrød (danish butter rye bread), liege waffles, pastry balls, and of course, a couple of sweet delights. The waffle, in my opinion, was one of the best I've had in Taiwan so far. Nib sugar was included in the pastry to avoid the possible dry texture some waffles may have. With a lovely amount of berries and the oh-so-amazing Mascarpone Cheese on the side. On the savoury side, I would recommend the smørrebrød, also known as the danish rye bread with your chosen topping. We went for the cauliflower and mushroom flavour, which is really light and refreshing, perfect for the warm season.

稍聊片刻,發現這間憲賣最新的分店,裏裏外外都是以丹麥為發想。這絕對不是崇洋媚外,而是將出外旅行後所見所聞帶回家,將北歐人文化值得學習的樂觀友善透過飲食文化介紹給來訪的客人。

過於花俏的餐點,容易模糊了咖啡店的焦點。在憲賣,上桌的餐點就如同店本身一樣,真實且生活化,嚐過後使人流連忘返,是用時間換來的好味道。野梅馬士卡彭,好令人驚喜,加入了珍珠糖,讓鬆餅本身多了層次不乾澀。特別是旁邊用料大方法國認證過的馬士卡彭起司,經過打發後的綿密口感,比一般的鮮奶油更美味,一口接著一口,停不下來。另外值得一提的是,在這裡還能找到外面少見的丹麥開口三明治。兩個月前在北歐旅遊,也有發現這項代表性的輕食。我們選擇的口味是白花椰蕈菇,由野菇、蘋果、花椰菜和玉米組成,用料聽起來或許簡單,但往往看似簡單的其實越不簡單。

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

Keep an eye out for the seats on the 2nd floor. Great spots to catch up with emails, writing, or a rare 'me' time after a long day of work – plugs are provided, of course. I do suggest before you dive into your technology zone, spend a few minutes looking around. The interior up here is a totally different story, cold colour schemes, hanging plants and beautiful illustrations. Decent. 

這天,窗外下著陣雨,卻不解室內客人的興致,雙眼所及的是個雀躍開心的環境氛圍。與友人聊著聊著,突然有些閒懶,索性循著階梯到樓上看看。二樓有著我心儀的高腳椅個人座位區,光看就知道是個能帶著電腦來寫稿的好位置,心裡立刻筆記下次再訪一定要坐這裡。牆上掛著些許以北歐為主題的圖片插畫,冷色系的牆壁與木質的桌椅,在吊燈的投射下,散發出迷人的氣質。

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

In this particular Monday afternoon, I've come to understand that rather than a coffee shop, what Mr.Lee and his team are managing here is an entire brand. The cafe culture that we customers are all more or less caught up to. In a few months, I might not remember the amazing food and drink, but I'll always keep the atmosphere in mind. As I wind down and realise how a simple moment in life can be so beautiful and addictive. 

Local or not, if you're ever in Taichung, don't miss out this little danish gem. Trust me, it is worth the hours. x

一個下午過去,著實地體驗到了憲賣咖啡的理念和宗旨。李先生與他背後的團隊,經營的早已不是咖啡廳,而是個完整的品牌。用心研究,觸及到的不只是客人的味蕾,還有我們對於生活的寫意。況且,一間會讓人想一訪再訪的咖啡廳,不能只靠滿意的餐飲,也需要吸引人的品味和文化。讓整天追著時間跑的都市人,在 Smile Cøffee 深耕自己的生活節奏。即便不是來自台中,也能像我一樣在這城市找到一處想自己窩起來時,最安心的位置。

不管你是不是台中人,想要停下腳步小憩一會的時候,不仿到 Smile Coffee 體驗小丹麥,讓日子變得更有趣:)

smile coffee taichung

smile coffee taichung

Smile Cøffee • 憲賣咖啡熱河店 No.128 Section 2, Rehe Rd, Taichung City// 台中市熱河路二段128號 +886 4 2238 3366

 *Disclaimer: We were invited to the place by Smile Cøffee, however, all the opinions here are 100% mine. I would not have accepted this project if I did not think it is something interesting to share.