© SOAR Design / Photography: Hey!Cheese

Alluring coffee parlours can be found all over Asia, but as the very cradle of tea, an equivalent phenomenon dedicated exclusively to the aromatic beverage is emerging in an accelerating way. In Taichung, a large city on Taiwan‘s west coast, the trend is best captured by Zhao Zhao Tea Lounge, a newly opened retreat where tea is served in a contemporary setting that ticks all our boxes.  Designed by SOAR Design, a local architecture, interior design and landscape practice, the venue is the dream project of young Taiwanese tea entrepreneur Zongjun Chen who, as a young child, was immersed in tea culture by helping out his father roasting tea. Ever since, Chen dreamed big, envisioning a place where he could share his longtime experience and knowledge with others. Following a long search, the entrepreneur secured a former 1950s family dwelling, a stone’s throw away from the so-called Calligraphy Greenway, a popular green corridor in the city’s West District. Occupying three floors, the structure has been completely stripped, knocking out many a wall along the way to revealing its bare shell and allow in as much daylight as possible.

Following a compact and understated front yard strewn with pebbles and a potted tree, guests encounter a newly installed elongated concrete service station against a backdrop of bare bricks and battered concrete walls. Mind you, the walls have been intentionally carved, polished and mottled by hand to create an atmosphere of authenticity and history. Wooden shelving reminiscent of Mid-century modern style, sourced from Denmark and Germany like most other furniture pieces, somewhat balances out the Spartan vibe. A metal spiral staircase, situated in the middle of the ground floor, conceals a small tea roasting unit and an adjacent seating area with a view of the redesigned back yard with lush potted plants. Upstairs, more seating can be found, ranging from a semi-secluded lounge with floor seating, to bar-inspired seating, and a communal table with chairs. the menu Zhao Zhao Tea Lounge lists only three teas–Oolong, Assam tea and so-called cold tea, all roasted on the premises, but each with a different fermentation, in addition to concise number of pastries.

Zhao Zhao Tea Lounge
No. 22, Lane 66, Lane 79, Section 1, Shangxiang Road (West District)
Taichung 403
Telephone: +886 4 23011222
Mon-Sat 12-5

© SOAR Design / Photography: Hey!Cheese