Tue, Apr 18, 2017 - Page 4 News List

FEATURE: China’s baristas take cues from Taiwan

LOCAL FLAVOR:Taiwan’s interest in coffee developed during the Japanese colonial era. The nation’s unique brand of coffee culture is receiving international recognition

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Lin — who has been in the industry for 20 years — said he was apprehensive at first about his ability to excel as a coffee professional, seeing the industry as a Western venture.

However, after traveling widely, Lin said he realized that Taiwan is at the forefront in terms of coffee industry know-how.

The only difference between Taiwan and the West 20 years ago was that Taiwanese had not yet made coffee-drinking part of their everyday routine, Lin said, adding that this difference caused difficulties for Taiwan’s coffee industry professionals.

Lin said Taiwan’s outstanding performance in the industry has also had an impact in Southeast Asia, citing trips to the region during which he was invited to demonstrate his latte art skills or to judge competitions.

Lin said that Taiwan is considered to be an industry leader in Asia in Southeast Asia, where many nations have a high proportion of ethnically Chinese people who are happy to learn from Taiwanese professionals.

Taiwanese photography instructor Wu Ping-tse (吳秉澤), who also operates a reservation-only cafe in Shanghai, said Taiwanese consumers differ from those in China in that they are already familiar with high-quality coffee.

Lin said that for many Chinese going to a cafe is a fashionable thing to do, whereas Taiwanese usually see cafes as places for rest or interaction with others.

“It is rare in Shanghai to see people reading or relaxing in coffee shops like you would see in Taiwan,” he said.

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