The Jakarta Post
The Taiwanese people take their coffee seriously, with independent coffee shops offering specialty beans from abroad. (Shutterstock/kikovic)
The people of Taiwan are known for their longstanding affection for teas. However, in recent years, coffee culture has been making its mark in the island nation.
Amid a sea of bubble tea shops, the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) reported that there were over 15,000 coffee shops in Taiwan, including the world’s largest coffeehouse chain Starbucks, Taiwanese coffeehouse chains such as Louisa , 85°C or Cama Café, as well as independent coffee shops and minimarkets.
TETO said in a statement that one person consumed more than 200 coffee cups per year and that coffee consumption continued to increase by 20 percent annually.
According to the Fair Trade Commission’s annual survey on convenience store chains in 2017 as reported by The China Post, sales of fresh coffee rose 17 percent to NT$16 billion (US$520 million) at Taiwan’s five convenience store chains, namely 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, OK Mart and TSC Million.
There are 10,000 minimarket chains in Taiwan open for 24 hours, allowing coffee lovers to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of Java by only paying Rp 17,000 ($1.16). The low cost and accessibility factors of the beverage are considered the major driving forces in the expanding Taiwanese coffee market.
The Taiwanese people take their coffee seriously, with independent coffee shops offering specialty beans from abroad. Meanwhile, minimarkets also sell estate-grade coffees, making Taiwan the country with the highest consumption of premium coffee beans in the world.
As Taiwan is not a coffee producer, coffeehouses source beans from other countries, including Indonesia, Brazil and Ethiopia for unroasted beans and the United States, Japan and Malaysia for roasted beans.
TETO said that before 2015, Indonesia was one of the biggest unroasted coffee beans exporters to Taiwan by contributing 25 percent of the total imported coffee beans.
Unfortunately, the number continued to decrease. In 2019, only 12 percent of the total imported coffee beans in Taiwan came from Indonesia.
Amid the decreasing number, Luwak and Sumatran Mandheling varieties remain popular in Taiwan.
According to TETO, Indonesia’s climate and rich soils produce different types of coffee beans that are suitable for Taiwanese people, who love to try new things.
That being said, with good marketing and promotion strategies as well as good quality control, TETO felt certain that Indonesian coffee could make its way to Taiwanese coffeehouse chains and minimarkets. (jes/wng)
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