Taiwan’s coffee industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades, and annual average coffee consumption in Taiwan last year reached 1.8kg per person, exceeding the 1.4kg average per person for tea.
It is possible that this could be an indication that coffee could soon replace tea as Taiwan’s go-to drink.
From the 4.73 hectares of coffee planted in 2001 to the 1,153.21 hectares planted last year, it is apparent that a large number of people are investing in the coffee industry, Taiwan Coffee Laboratory researcher Lin Jen-an (林仁安) said on Tuesday last week, citing statistics provided by the Council of Agriculture.
Photo courtesy of Lion Travel
Most coffee farms that have earned themselves a good reputation are located on mountains 700m above sea level, and many have been repurposed from tea farms, he said.
The frequent interaction between coffee farmers, baristas and roasters gives Taiwan’s coffee industry its competitive edge, as it aims to attract more attention at the Private Collection Auction today.
Lin said that Taiwan is the only place in the world, with the exception of Hawaii, in which there is nearly no distance between production and consumption.
Like the Hawaiian Kona beans, Taiwan’s beans cost more but have excellent taste, which would give Taiwan an edge in making a name for itself in the international gourmet coffee market, he added.
Comparing the quality of Taiwan’s coffee to the Geisha bean produced in Panama’s Hacienda La Esmeralda region, which sells for US$156 per kilogram, Lin said that Taiwan is looking to obtain a good price on its first appearance on the international coffee bidding scene.
At the event, a panel of 26 judges from five countries are scheduled to select nine of the best brews out of 19 entries of Taiwan-grown coffee beans for auctioning, the Alliance of Coffee Excellence said.
The beans selected are then to be auctioned online, with buyers from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the US, New Zealand, Australia and Saudi Arabia doing the bidding, the alliance said.
Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute director Fang Yi-chou (方怡舟) said that the institute has obtained a patent for the first locally cultivated type of coffee, which can be planted in plains and can yeild 1.2 times more beans than current coffee plants.
Fang said that the institute hopes to promote the new bean among local growers soon.
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