Japanese coffee specialist promotes Alishan coffee

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Taipei, July 26 (CNA) A Japanese man, who sampled Taiwan's light roast coffee with a flavor of lemon black tea, pineapple and oolong tea during a visit to the mountainous Alishan (???) region six years ago, has moved to Taiwan and has been promoting the "Alisan Coffee" brand for some three years now.
Atsuomi Itou (????), who was an employee at Starbucks in Japan at the time, visited Chiayi County more than six years ago to see the coffee plantations and taste the brews, after he learned that Taiwan was the closest coffee-growing country to Japan.
The light roast coffee that Itou encountered in Alishan made such an impression that when the plantation owner told him four years ago that financial difficulties were forcing him out of business, Itou decided to relocate to Taiwan.
Itou set about learning Mandarin and familiarizing himself with coffee plantations in Taiwan, and he later registered the "Alisan Coffee" brand.
He started out by promoting the locally grown coffee to Japanese visitors at Taipei Songshan Airport and at a stall at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei.
He later opened a coffee shop in the Shilin District in Taipei and now exports Alisan Coffee to Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia.
Itou, 35, attended a coffee festival in Taipei on Saturday afternoon, sharing his knowledge of local coffee with about 50 visitors.
Taiwan produces about 800 tonnes of coffee per year, accounting for roughly 0.01 percent of global production, according to coffee expert Han Huai-tsung (???). Taiwan also grows quite a few specialty coffee beans, accounting for 40 of the 930 types of coffee beans that have obtained Q Grader certification from the Coffee Quality Institute in southern California, Han said. (By Chang Ming-hsuan and Kuo Chung-han)