A retired telecommunications contractor has found a second career growing coffee beans, which has won him an award in Nantou.
Tseng Liang-hsiung (曾良雄), 70, said he fell in love with coffee 20 years ago when he smelled its rich aroma for the first time.
He was working at a telecommunications company at the age of 50 when he saw a visiting Japanese engineer pouring coffee from a thermos, Tseng said.
Tseng said the engineer told him that Japanese had planted coffee trees in Puli (埔里), Nantou County, during the Japanese colonial period because they thought the terrain and climate there were suitable for the crop. The coffee was meant to be sent to Japan’s emperor, the man had told him.
That was when he knew that coffee could be grown in his hometown of Puli, Tseng said.
Tseng now lives in Greater Taichung and travels to Puli early every morning with his wife to look after their coffee plantation.
They did not plan to work after retirement, but they were advised them to farm their inherited land, instead of letting it lie fallow.
Tseng and his brother decided to try planting coffee trees, but they lacked experience and had to rely heavily on help from the Chiayi Agricultural Experimental Station.
Last year, Tseng’s coffee won second prize in a contest held by Nantou’s Guosing Farmers’ Association.
Tseng said he uses only organic fertilizers and pesticides on his trees.
“I wouldn’t allow people to consume stuff that I don’t dare consume,” he said.