Eat + Drink

Patience Pays Off at Taipei’s Zen Zoo Tea House

Sip and savor the perfect cup of tea at Zen Zoo tea house in Taipei. (All photos: Sean Marc Lee/VSCO)

In order to drink tea at Zen Zoo, in Taipei, you first need to sit quietly. You might be tempted to investigate the antique furniture or the beautiful tatami mats, but either way, you need to wait.

Why? Part of the ritual at this Taiwanese tea house involves giving the servers time to prepare your tea leaves in a dainty ceramic cup, and allowing them to slowly fill the gigantic iron teapot with piping hot water. It’s a beautiful sight to behold.

Zen Zoo Teahouse in Taipei
While you sit, you may notice the walls are decorated with tea-making accoutrements and Japanese ceramics, or see the wrinkled menu with its list of Chinese and Japanese teas. But when the water is finally poured and the tea leaves steep, you’ll need to wait again.

Zen Zoo Teahouse in Taipei
Zen Zoo’s founder left Taiwan to study in Paris, and opened the original teahouse on the rue Chabanais as a cure for his homesickness. When he returned to Taipei, he established this second branch over ten years later. And the international influence shows.

Zen Zoo Teahouse in Taipei
Zen seems at once familiar and foreign. There is a subtle hint of a traditional Chinese teahouse but the menu features Japanese matcha and hojicha.

A touch of Parisian whimsicality can be detected, too, in the playful presentation of their matcha ice cream, the delicacy of the matcha red bean cake and handmade mochis. This is truly a Taiwanese teahouse for a global market.

Zen Zoo Teahouse in Taipei

Marriott Hotels explored Zen Zoo as part of a collaboration with VSCO’s photographers to create city guides for Paris; Berlin; Cairo; Taipei; and Portland, Ore. Check out: A Full Guide on How to Travel Brilliantly in Taipei.

Where to Find Zen Zoo

• Address: 38 Lane 103, Section 2, Neihu Rd, Taipei
• Hours: +886 2 2797 3972 (call for opening hours)