A coffee shop that offers magic shows
If you are interested in magic, and if you also like coffee, then you might want to check out Rising Sun Coffee ( ), the only cafe that offers magic shows in Taiwan.
Opened last September, the cafe serves as a platform for magicians who want to practice their skills, said its 25-year-old owner Prada Peng ( ), who is a magician himself.
Random magic shows are provided on weekends, while largerscale magic parties are held every month. The magic party has various themes and changes with season. For example, a Christmas party was held last December, and a Chinese New Year party in February.
Attendants will be able to enjoy a 1.5-2 hour magic show for a NT$350 entrance fee that also includes a drink and a dessert. Magic stunts are carried out through different forms, including interaction with the audience.
Given its limited financial reward, engaging in arts and cultural performance is relatively difficult in Taiwan. Unwilling to give up his love for magic, Peng opened a coffee shop that gives himself as well as fellow magicians a venue to practice their trade.
At Rising Sun Coffee, magicians are free to innovate and create their own magic shows, and not be constrained by requirements that may be imposed in other business settings. There is “more room for arts performance” at the cafe, Peng stressed.
Partnership with Name Brands
Peng’s team ( Sunny Magic) started out by making stage props and providing custom- designed services for magicians. Their expertise helped the team invent new magic tricks.
Peng has pocketed the Award for Excellence in Manipulation at the 2010 RIC International Magic Convention, and won third place in the professional division of the 2010 Qingshui Ma.
His team has also gained some traction. They recently performed at Taipei Film Festival’s opening ceremony, and has partnered with cosmetic name brands such as SKII, Kiehl’s and Shu Uemura.
“If you have never used a product, and when I explain to you its functionality or benefits, you may be amazed by the product’s power,” Peng said, adding that it is similar to magic.
What Peng’s team has been doing is helping businesses package new products accompanied with magic shows to increase product appeal and highlight their magical powers.
Push for Specialty
However, taking Rising Sun Coffee merely as leverage to make a foray into the magic industry would be an understatement. The main motive for opening the coffee shop is to promote “specialty coffee,” according to Peng.
The coffee bean is in fact a type of fruit, and like berries or lemons, has a tinge of acidity with its unique flavor. Rising Sun uses light or medium roast processes to preserve the coffee’s original flavor.
The different types of roasting processes vary in the amount of time it takes or temperature applied to roast coffee beans.
The dark roast process -- the third major roasting method -- can overburn coffee beans to render a bitter taste, depriving them of their original flavor and fragrance, or “primal aroma as picked from the tree,” Peng said.
Deep roasting may carbonize coffee beans and produce harmful tar too, according to Peng. Light and medium roasted coffees, identified by their relatively light color, are therefore more healthy too.
Only quality coffee beans can withstand the test of light and medium roast processes, since after being treated with these processes, bad or rotten beans will be easily noticed in the drink, Peng noted.
If treated by the deep roasting process, however, all the coffee beans will contain the universal bitter flavor. Sugars and milk will need to be added to enhance flavor, and then “you would not be able to taste the real flavor of coffee,” Peng said.
Insistence on Quality Coffee
“We are confident of our coffee’s quality, and thus use the light and medium roast processes. There is a sweet aftertaste and a high degree of fragrance in it. This is similar to wine tasting.”
Deep roasted or commercial beans are cultivated via mass production. The end product’s longer preservation time and lower prices are its two main advantages.
By adopting alternate approaches, Rising Sun uses coffee beans of a higher cost. That’s why Peng does not contract anyone to perform the roasting. In fact, his family has been in the coffee-bean roasting business for years and even sold coffee beans to others.
In order to extract the aroma out of coffee, there is a unique roasting method for each type of coffee bean, Peng explained, adding that this is a very technical task.
By integrating his passion in magic and a high-degree of knowhow in the coffee business, Peng separated himself from others and is now traveling with confidence and keenness on the road of entrepreneurship.
(Top) Prada Peng ( ), right, poses for a photo with his girlfriend at Rising Sun Coffee ( ) in Taipei in July. The coffee shop offers light and medium roasted coffee that is said to preserve coffee’s original flavor. (Above) A poster that advertises a magic show party is shown in the picture. In addition to weekend magic shows, a larger-scale magic party is held at the Rising Sun Coffee every month. The show’s theme can be seasonal, such as a Christmas or a Chinese New Year party.