Taiwanese coffee rarely leaves the country – a combined result of small farm size and an active direct link between farmers and the near 5000 home roasters in the country. This scarcity means the chance to taste Taiwanese coffee, let alone an award winner from the country, has been an exceptionally rare experience. This rarity has meant that the true quality of Taiwan’s coffee has gone un-noticed in many parts of the world until recent years.
This world exclusive award winning coffee from Zhuang Xuan Yoifo farm in Chiayi County was one of the winning nano-lots in the Best of Taiwan 2023 competition – a pilot for the prestigious Cup of Excellence competition.
A world away from the ultramodern metropolis of Taipei, Chiayi County in the Southern mountains of Taiwan and is the most highly regarded producing region in the country. At 1200 metres and more at such Northern latitudes the climate in the cloud forests is akin to the high altitudes coffee zones in more well known producing countries. The mountains are impossibly steep and achingly beautiful with lush vegetation switching from coffee to indigenous forest, to high grown tea, and back to forest. Clouds roll up the steep, narrow valleys enveloping the coffee trees in cool mist and keeping them in perfect growing conditions. Many of the producers in the area are from the native Zou tribe where a connection to the environment and people is central to historical belief systems.
This translates seamlessly into modern day coffee farming and the wholistic approach to agriculture reaps huge benefits in the final coffee quality.
The best Taiwanese coffees showcase exceptional balance and Chai-Chi’s coffee represents this perfectly. Notes of brown sugar, mandarin orange and dried fruit combine supported by flavours of ripe plum and peach. A rich foundation of roasted hazelnut praline adds depth before notes of honeysuckle florals adds finesse to the finish. Vibrant, well-balanced acids, create a juicy and harmonious structure that builds as the coffee cools over a syrupy mouthfeel. This elevates the sugar cane and caramel notes to perfection.