Taiwan coffee industry sees boom

Popularity of specialty coffee on the rise in the country

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Cama Coffee Roaster branch in Yangmingshan (Facebook photo)

Cama Coffee Roaster branch in Yangmingshan (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With an annual market exceeding NT$70 billion (US$23 billion), Taiwan has been put on the map as a major coffee-consuming country and a relevant player in the specialty coffee industry.

Looking back at 2019, the island nation has seen some notable coffee-related events. In an unusual move, renowned Japanese bookstore franchise Tsutaya Bookstore selected Taiwan-based Louisa Coffee rather than its longtime partner Starbucks as the coffee shop in its new flagship branch that opened last month in Taipei, reported Business Today.

Cama Coffee Roasters, known for its quality coffee at affordable prices, renovated a historic house and transformed it into a coffee shop at the mountainous tourist attraction of Yangmingshan in Taipei. Taiwan also boasts three coffee shops that were ranked among the top 50 in Asia by travel website Big 7 Travel.

In addition to the vibrant coffee-consuming scene, Taiwan has an impressive number of specialty coffee providers, including its omnipresent convenience stores, said Taiwan Coffee Laboratory, an institution certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). Specialty coffee denotes the highest grade coffee available, usually using single estate beans.

While the coffee business is thriving in Taiwan, it is the brands offering affordable coffee that appear to have enjoyed the dividends. The four major convenience store chains in Taiwan, namely 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, and OK Mart, together sell a staggering 900 million cups of coffee a year, while chains like Starbucks and Mr. Brown are struggling to cope in the increasingly competitive market, their outlets closing one after another, reported China Times.