Amongst the cultivars brought into Taiwan for cultivation under the directives of the Japanese Government-General were Typica, Liberica, and Robusta. Most of the production focused solely on Typica.
Terosaq Industry Oversight Office (source: National Taiwan Library)
Since 1956, many cultivars of coffee have been brought into Taiwan under the directives of the Sino-American Join Commission on Rural Reconstruction and then planted in Gukeng of Yunlin County. There cultivars include Kent, SL-7, SL-28, BA-8, Caturra, Cumbaya, Bourbon, Maragogipe, Cos-1-7, Cos-1-115, PL205939, PI205112, SL-17, BA-8, S333, S288, S466, S795.
Most of the coffee given or sold to the farmers then were the rust-resistant typica 6550 and 6552.
Inspecting Wu Qi-Ping's Coffee Farm (source: Taiwan Cultural Memory Bank, permission to reproduce given by Yunling County Government Culture and Tourism Office)
Since specialty coffee and the tidal wave that is the third wave of coffee culture swept over the island of Taiwan, consumers began looking for ever better quality in their cups. Producers, having been provided with unprecedented opportunities, began exploring the hidden potential of Taiwanese coffee without formal government aid.
Though most Taiwanese coffee are Typica, some farmers stared planting Red Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon, Pacamara, Catuai, and Geish. SL-34 can also be found on the slopes of Alishan.
Regardless of production areas or altitudes of the farm, Taiwanese farmers are now most interested in pursuing the geisha varietal, using their experience with grafting to quickly update their stocks.
Even today, Taiwanese coffee faces many challenges in terms of international market and global changes in climate. Yet, from the early days of Typica to the amazing diversity in planted varietals today, Taiwanese coffees farmers have displayed surprising tenacity in their pursuit for ever higher quality.