Taiwan’s Coffee: Island Style
Taiwan’s Coffee story began in 1642, when the Dutch introduced the simple coffee bean to the island. The beans liked the island conditions! The love affair with coffee beans began. The British in the late 1800‘s tired to establish larger coffee farms with limited success. In 1895 the Japanese established the first coffee plantations. Though the success of Taiwan’s Coffee did not really begin till well after World War II. The island and it’s people have not been the same since. Coffee anyone?
The main coffee growing regions of Taiwan are the Dongshan District and Yunlin’s Gukeng. This area has some of the largest coffee plantations. The awesome rural scenery is amazing. There is an instant attraction to a coffee plantation with the aroma of fresh coffee beans floating in the air. Tourists take advantage of the amazing scenery, while indulging in their favorite Latte or Cappuccino. Taiwan’s coffee is mainly consumed by the tourists who come each year. Taiwan’s Coffee is an unfolding story.
Taiwan’s coffee is some of the world’s best, however, for every ton of coffee grown in Taiwan, 30 tons are imported. Peru is hoping to get into the action this year with more imports to Taiwan. Taiwan’s coffee story is a story of consumption. Taiwanese love their coffee.
George Elsner, who fled to Taipei with the Chinese, opened the Astoria cafe in Hsimenting in Taipei. This Taiwanese cafe was much like his Astoria cafe in Shanghai. For many years it was mainly visited by Russians, US military, and Taiwan’s writers. They had some of the best coffee on the island.
Taiwan’s coffee culture has exploded in recent years and there are over 2,000 coffee shops on this small island. The price ranges from 35-50 Taiwanese dollars. This is approximately 1.00-1.50 in USD. Starbuck’s built it’s first coffee shop on the island in 1998. There are now 156 Starbucks in Taiwan. Taiwan’s coffee explosion has begun!
So have no fear, Taiwan’s coffee culture is waiting for you. You will have no trouble finding one of the major chains like Starbucks, Barista, or Dante. There are also many local coffee shops waiting to serve you. So come on over to Taiwan and have a great cup of coffee!