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Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
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bumi
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Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 2:45am
Subject: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

Hi coffeegeeks —

I'm doing a documentary on the rise of artisan coffee culture around Asia, and I'd appreciate your recommendation on the who's who, and where's where of the old/new coffee roasters, shops, machine producers, festivals, competitions (basically everything about specialty coffee) in those regions?

If you are an industry player, I'd love to get in touch and talk to you. I have a very short list and recommendations in Tokyo & Taipei, and I would love to expand it and share it all with you here.
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alanfrew
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Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 3:58am
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

Good luck with that. Taiwan and Japan were doing "specialty coffee" before Erna Knutsen coined the term in 1974. There are very good reasons that the best single origin specialty beans end up in Tokyo and Taipei year after year, based on relationships forged half a century or more ago. On the other hand, they don't promote it, no festivals, competitions etc., they just do it. UCC Ueshima should be your first stop.

Alan
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Chang94598
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Posted Mon Apr 14, 2014, 11:46pm
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

For Taipei, these are a few I have tried or found excellent. There are many others I just did not have enough time to visit.

Fika Fika. Winner of BOTH espresso and filer coffee at the Nordic Roaster Competition 2013. Not much talked about here, but I hope they post their roasting technique.

Gabee. Winner of several Taiwan Barista Championships and owner is known for his latte art.

L’apre’s midi Café. Lever, lever, lever!

Zhanlu Coffee. Several shops. Each shop specializes in different coffee preparation. One specializes in moka pots I found fun.  

Coffee Sweet. Very light roast, roasted on electric roaster. Owner has his roasting philosophy and does not like gas-powered roasters. Had been doing light roast before selling "cupping" roast becomes trendy here in the US.  :)

The above are the new 3rd wave cafes.  For traditional old Taipei, try Fong Da, and right next to it (talk about competition!) Nan Mei.

For roasting equipments, however they are not in Taipei, but in Taichung. There are Yang Chia and Kapok, and a few others. Yang Chia machines are seen ubiquitously in many shops and used in Taiwanese roast competitions. There are many coffees scored >90 points on CoffeeReview roasted with this machine. The Kapok is unique in one can set the temperature and let the machine do the heating part instead of adjusting gas.
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JamesInTaiwan
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Posted Tue Jul 1, 2014, 7:41pm
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

I enjoy Magic Lamp coffee in Taipei, Xinyi district.
There is another place in Taipei, Tienmu called Haaya coffee. The owner is a registered cupper.
Lastly there is a very interesting 3rd wave shop by Sun Yat Sen memorial. Forget the name but it's down an alley near there.
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bumi
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Posted Tue Jul 1, 2014, 11:21pm
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

Hi all thanks for your responses.

I went to most of the shops in Taiwan mentioned above, with an addition: 13 Coffee, a hand-roasted coffee shop at a San He Yuan (3-in-1 family compound) outskirt of Taichung.

This is the first of many trips to come.
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hankua
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Posted Wed Jul 2, 2014, 8:05am
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

Here's one for the avid homeroaster:

Worker Cafe-Taipei (02)2571-8997 also known as Proworker and builds the "cube" roaster.
Tao-Yao Cheng

I've been following his blog for a few years, so it wasn't like I found it by accident.

His shop is an un-impressive looking place on a small side street. He's got an older cube roaster in the corner and syphon bar up front. Mr. Cheng speaks no English, my Taiwanese niece came along and is starting to learn cupping. Her boyfriend's a barista in Korea.

So I'm asking about the machines and what kind of basic profiles like drop-in temps, turning point, etc,etc. Mr. Cheng laughs a little and smiles "I don't use profiles". Just follow the bean color and development. Now of course we're having some translation issues, my niece knows little about coffee roasting.

Mr Chen starts breaking out some Ethiopians both washed and dry process. Apparently Taiwanese people do not favor DP Ethiopians but we had some he roasted. The ground color was the lightest I've ever seen and get this, he roasted a washed Ethiopian in 10 minutes and finished the roast before the first burst of 1C. OK, really? The roast question was asked three more times just to be sure. The coffee was roasted perfectly; not underdeveloped and the coffee's were prepped on the syphon bar.

Unfortunately if you can't speak Chinese or have a friend to translate, don't bother going. Other thing, you need to call ahead and make an appointment, as he runs two cafe's.

Mr. Cheng's been doing this a long time, I think it would be fair to call him a Taiwanese Roastmaster.
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bumi
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Posted Wed Jul 2, 2014, 7:07pm
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

hankua Said:

Unfortunately if you can't speak Chinese or have a friend to translate, don't bother going. Other thing, you need to call ahead and make an appointment, as he runs two cafe's.

Posted July 2, 2014 link

Wow, thanks, and good to know. Will surely see him next time.

Luckily I managed to learn Chinese enough to converse comfortably, though I did have to learn some coffee related jargons to be more accurate.

If you like Mr. Cheng's, you should check out 13 Coffee in Taichung next time. Any pictures you took at Mr. Cheng's you can share?
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hankua
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hankua
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Posted Thu Jul 3, 2014, 4:05am
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

Got pictures but it was evening when we arrived, so it may be a few weeks till I get them uploaded.
I'm not saying his coffee is the absolute best, just a really unique experience for a home roaster.

So if you roast coffee I recommend arranging a private session at the syphon bar with Mr. Cheng.

And don't forget to bring along some of your best home roast.

It'll be well worth your while. Just saying...
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bumi
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Joined: 25 Mar 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Bali
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: AeroPress
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Kalita Wave Set
Posted Thu Jul 3, 2014, 7:12am
Subject: Re: Japan, Taiwan & Korea: what is the must-go coffee places there?
 

hankua Said:

I'm not saying his coffee is the absolute best, just a really unique experience for a home roaster.

Posted July 3, 2014 link

I've had exceptional coffee at places that I forget the next time people ask, but there are those where I had the best of time — which I often don't forget — without that exceptionally good coffee, but the story & the man/woman behind it.
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