How a Japanese coffee fan ditched Starbucks for Taiwan

Want China Times
Date: 2015-07-27
By: CNA and Staff Reporter

A Japanese visitor to Taiwan who sampled a local light roast coffee with a flavor of lemon

A cup of Alishan coffee. (File photo/Tourism Bureau, Republic of China)

A cup of Alishan coffee. (File photo/Tourism Bureau, Republic of China)

black tea, pineapple and oolong tea during a visit to the mountainous Alishan region six years ago, has since moved to the country 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 in central Taiwan 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. He 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 the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei. He later opened a coffee shop in Taipei’s Shilin district and now exports Alisan Coffee to Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia.     [FULL  STORY]

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