Tainan Dongshan Coffee 225g TWD $950
Region : Tainan Dongshan
Altitude : 1000 m
Varietal&Process : Arabica, Water washed, Sun dried
Roasting Level : Medium
Tasting Note : Earthy, Smoky, Woody, Pepper
The Dongshan coffee district is in the south west of Taiwan, nestled in the western foothills of the Taiwan mountain spine between Chaiyi and Tainan. The long floodplain reaches west towards the Taiwan Strait and offers spectacular views as you climb eastwards towards the farms.
Tea farms and fruit orchards cover large areas of these hills, hidden in the many valleys and creeks which run down from the mountains. Roads rise sharply into the mountains and the geography at altitude forces smaller holdings and communities. Coffee farms in Dongshan will range from 500-1,500m. Strong government investment in these communities ensure good infrastructure, even at elevations above two thousand metres. Despite this, physical limitations constrain most coffee holdings to yields rarely more than twenty metric tons of green beans annually. Taiwan has strong employment laws, so “cheap labour” is unrealistic. Coffee cultivators are involved directly in the growth and harvest of their produce.
Community spirit is strong. Farmers here grow hybrid crops to assure stable incomes. Only in recent years has coffee been seen as a reliable source of income. Smaller yields have encouraged cooperation amongst farms to aggregate volumes and allow them to afford larger capacity and better quality equipment. Mechanisation has sharply improved margins. Levels of reinvestment into property and cultivation is evidently high.
The western slopes of the mountain ranges offer better protection from mainly eastern weather systems. Wet, tropical summers follow dry winters with temperatures at altitude significantly lower than in the flood plains. Temperatures at altitude will often be 10c less than the flood plain below. These conditions offer wet and cool nights, steep slopes for excellent water run off and long, dry days as the sun sets in the west.
Coffee farmers in Dongshan are strongly influenced by neighbouring tea and fruit cultivation. Their product will tend to acidic and fruit flavours. Farmers will offer water or honey washed beans. But their roast preference will rarely be more than medium. They believe dark roasts of their beans mask their unique regional flavour.