Teahouses have become a distinctive part of Taiwan's culture. People go for the ambience and to have a good cup of tea.
You can find teahouses all over the island. Spending a few hours in pleasant surroundings over a pot of best oolong tea is as easy and every bit as fashionable as finding a cup of coffee in one of the popular coffee shops. Some people go to teahouses for tea, others go just for the ambience.
People like to visit teahouses, which provide them with a venue where they can appreciate tea, and talk about culture in a relaxed atmosphere. Teahouses have become a popular place for good conversation.
With the revival of Chinese tea culture, teahouses now serve as landmarks for big cities in Taiwan, such as Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. The different styles of teahouses just reflect the differences among the three cities in which they are located.
Taipei, though modern, has preserved many more traditional elements - buildings, food, public events and religious customs - than Taichung, which has sought to be modern and trendy, and Kaohsiung, which is only just becoming aware of the importance of culture.
Unlike Taipei's old teahouses - more faithful renditions of traditional teahouses where customers brew tea in the traditional manner - teahouses in Taichung, although decorated in traditional Chinese style, are not authentic teahouse in terms of the types of drinks they serve.
As teahouse owners made Taichung the cradle for nonconventional teahouses by selling not only traditional Chinese tea, but also a variety of green and black tea concoctions with different fruit flavors.
As for Kaohsiung, the flamboyant architecture and interior designs of its teahouses are what most people notice.