If there’s one thing long-time Fresnans know (and newcomers quickly discover), it’s that there are never too many ways to cool off during the hot summer months. If cold beverages and desserts are your cool-down method of choice, you’re in luck: Taipei 101, a new coffee and tea house, recently opened in the strip mall on the Southeast corner of Cedar and Herndon.
In search of some cool refreshment on a recent warm afternoon, my sons and I ventured over to check it out. Though it’s difficult to immediately spot (the entrance does not face the parking lot; it’s tucked into the alley next to R-N Market), the space is generously-sized and inviting. With its cheery chartreuse, light blue (think Tiffany Blue), burnt orange, and white color scheme, it has a crisp and friendly feel. Larger than a typical Starbucks, there are plenty of tables for large groups as well as couches for more intimate gatherings. (There’s also an area especially for small children, something I definitely would have appreciated when my kids were younger.) Upon our arrival we were greeted and asked if we would be dining in or taking our drinks to go. Interested in getting the full experience but knowing we had a later appointment, I asked if we could sit for a bit but order our drinks in to-go cups. The server readily agreed and seated us at one of the couches, where we were given binders that contain pictures of each menu item.
Although arguably best known for their tea offerings, Taipei 101’s extensive menu includes coffees, desserts, and a selection of hot items for those looking to grab a quick lunch or appetizer to share.
My 9-year old son ordered strawberry milk tea with boba—our server patiently walked him through the menu, as their teas are almost endlessly customizable. You can choose between black or green teas and customize your drink with flavored syrups and a variety of milk choices and add-ins.
Not being a tea person, I opted for the glacier coffee, an iced coffee capped with whipped cream and sea salt (a glacier iced tea is also on the menu). It was a little sweet, a little salty, but still very recognizable as iced coffee—though definitely unlike any iced coffee I’ve had before.
My 12-year old son opted for neither coffee nor tea and ordered . . . crispy fried chicken. My younger son and I have celiac disease and can’t eat breaded foods so we let him have the plate to himself but I can confirm that it smelled delicious. Based on the way he devoured the entire plate, it was a winner.
Other menu items to be tried another time included snowflake ice (shave ice customizable with a variety of flavored syrups and add-ons), sweet toast (topped with colorful macarons), friend buns, curly fries, and Taiwanese pudding. Many of the desserts are available in sharable sizes.
Menu items are fairly priced. Most of the drinks are in the $3.75-4.00 range, although multiple add-ons can up the price. The crispy fried chicken was no more expensive than one of Starbucks’ pre-packaged lunch items.
Everything about Taipei 101 screams fun. From the colorful décor and printed glassware to the rad music (the day we were there, 90s-era rock by the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Barenaked Ladies was playing on the sound system—and whatever you may feel about that type of music, it is undeniably summery) to the whimsical desserts, it provides perfect respite from the summer heat and fills a unique niche in Fresno’s coffee/tea/dessert landscape.
6702 N. Cedar Ave, #103
Hours of operation: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, daily
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