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Introduction to the Origin of Taiwanese Coffee

The 19th century was the first golden age of coffee in Taiwan.

In 1902, during the Japanese colonial period, the Taiwan Governor-General's Office began to experiment with coffee cultivation in various regions such as Yunlin, Chiayi, and the eastern part of Taiwan. The three varieties of coffee planted at the time were Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica, making Taiwan a coffee-producing area.


Ten years later, the first coffee shop in Taiwan, "Parkview Café," was opened in Taipei's New Park. You can imagine how fashionable it was to sit in a café and enjoy a cup of coffee made from Taiwanese coffee beans.


By 1945, Taiwan's coffee production had reached 967 hectares, the highest record in Taiwan's coffee production history, and the peak period of Taiwanese coffee.


After World War II, Taiwan's coffee industry entered a dark period, and by 1981, only 1.7 hectares of coffee were planted in the Gu-keng region of Yunlin.


The 1999 "921 Earthquake" devastated central Taiwan but also brought a glimmer of hope to the Taiwanese coffee industry. To restore the land, the Water Conservation Bureau began to improve the local water and soil conditions, partnered with local governments, and worked to promote coffee bean cultivation, assist farmers in transitioning, and developed tourism coffee plantations.


Residents of Gu-keng joined this wave of coffee revival, working hard to regain the pride of "Taiwanese coffee" and make people think of coffee when they hear the name Gu-keng. Chiayi's Alishan is another important coffee-producing area in Taiwan. During the Japanese colonial period, coffee production extended to areas such as Chiayi and Taitung. As Alishan's planting altitude is between 900-1800 meters, , the coffee beans have a more mellow flavor with high altitude and significant temperature differences. Due to low production, precision roasting is carried out, and the production of boutique coffee has become a hot commodity in the market.


In addition to Yunlin and Chiayi, around 2000, various regions in Taiwan began to invest in coffee cultivation. This bright and small red fruit can be seen everywhere in places such as Nantou Guoxing Huisun, Pingtung Taiwu, and Hualien Wuhe.


By 2003, the efforts of the government and coffee farmers had paid off. The coffee cultivation area in Gu-keng, Yunlin, reached 54 hectares, and the Water Conservation Bureau and Gu-keng Township jointly held the first Taiwan Coffee Festival, attracting more than 150,000 people. After that, Taiwanese coffee farmers continued to move towards international markets and won awards in various domestic and international competitions.


In 2021, through the micro-movie called First Cup of Coffee, Taiwanese boutique coffee successfully entered the international market.


In 2022, Taiwan will expand its market territory further, ushering in the grand event of Taiwanese boutique coffee.


盧 德張(Jerry)・長谷川 典子

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